My internship story: The struggle and the success

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Shumaila Lakhani
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If you are a college student seeking an internship, you know how stressful it can be. Countless hours of searching, networking, and researching companies is what it takes to land an opportunity. All the time spent may lead to only a few interviews and many rejections. It can be very stressful.

I began looking during my sophomore year at UT Austin. Between going to career expos, attending info sessions, and other networking events, I felt like I was doing all I could. Seeing all my friends who were juniors at the time get offers and interviews, whereas I was struggling to even land my first interview was hard. My heart became heavy as I began to feel demoralized that no company was going to give me a chance since I was a sophomore.

Until one day, my friend who was also a sophomore came running to me and told me how he got an internship offer from Dell. It surprised me that he was able to get an offer being a sophomore and I realized it was OK seeing other students land internships before me. I could not be hung up on it, but instead had to change my approach.

Companies look at who you are as a person and how passionate you are about the company and position. Applying to smaller companies and companies where my experience would be useful was where I began next in starting my journey. I ended up landing an interview with two companies. I knew I would have to be engaging and show my passion during the interviews. With a lot of advance research I was able to connect my interview responses to current news or my experiences, plus I was able to show a wide range of knowledge. I got offers from both companies and accepted an internship with Travelers insurance company.

My internship was in the oil and gas department and the 10-week summer program was amazing. Learning so many new things and working with numerous different teams was the highlight. It was an experience where I faced a lot of challenges but I also got a fun learning experience out of it. Although I loved the company and the people, I realized this was not what I wanted to do after I graduated. I ended up receiving a return offer that I wanted to accept so badly to have a safety net, but I knew I had to say no and continue searching to find something that was more aligned with my career.

Through this process I learned to put all that you have into pursuing your hopes and dreams and to not feel discouraged when you do not see results right away. I also learned to not just settle for anything that comes my way, but to see what the right fit for my future is. For students seeking internships, do not stress over the search; take a deep breath and take it one step at a time.