Leveling Up: Capitalizing on a Freshman Year Internship

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A’Georre Williams
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When I was a freshman in college, I had no idea what an internship was, how to obtain one, or the astonishing benefits that can be attained after completing one. If you are anything like I was that first year, being initially nervous about giving up your summer for an internship may seem daunting. Now I can say that having an internship during my freshman year was the best decision for my professional career and has helped me develop qualities and skills that will lead to the trajectory of my success. Here are five things that you can learn during your internship that will set you ahead!

Career Exploration

Internships are a fantastic method for students to familiarize themselves with the field they are interested in, and exploring is a crucial component of the college experience. Freshmen may choose a major while having no real idea what an actual career in that area will look like. Obtaining an internship during your freshman year will allow you to gain experience in your intended field and can help you determine if it's the correct field for you. Or you may learn that this could be the right field, but not the exact job you want to pursue anymore. Students who interned early are more likely to feel assured that they made the proper degree choice by the time they graduate.

Network Establishment

Internships are a useful method to widen your professional network. Professional contacts you meet could be the most important link to your future employment, so having genuine and authentic relationships with your employer and co-workers is essential. Put simply, performing your best work will speak for itself and will make it easy for others to advocate for you in the future. Also, your intern supervisors can be useful in the future for recommendations and referrals, so making a good impression can be beneficial.

Real-World Experience

One of the most significant advantages of internships is the invaluable hands-on job experience that is provided, which cannot be achieved in a classroom setting. Interns have the chance to put their newly gained knowledge to use in real work situations while also getting a firsthand look at the typical tasks associated with their chosen sector. The opportunity to work on actual projects that benefit the company is not only surreal but insightful. Interns gain skills including communication and teamwork, in addition to the specialized knowledge of a certain industry, which helps prepare them for the workforce after graduation.

Skills Training

An internship is a great way to discover your talents and limitations. Internships provide unique learning experiences and allow for feedback from supervisors and others who are established in the industry. You may not have that type of opportunity once you’re in a full-time role. Get the most out of your internship training experience by asking questions, paying attention, and taking chances. Also developing those hard skills specifically catered to your major can help with future employment and opportunities.

Financial Compensation

Lastly, having an internship during your freshman year could potentially lead to financial compensation. Some students have unpaid internships which can still offer great opportunities to learn and develop. But more and more companies realize the value in offering paid internships. Being paid for performing tasks and projects for a job that you enjoy gives you a preview of what your future career can entail. Having money to pay for school and to save for the following school year is also a bonus.

Overall, having an internship early has so many positive factors that will benefit you professionally and personally. Taking that first step will not only help you build your confidence but will also assist you in piloting a triumphant career!

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