Some students shy away from the idea of internships during college.
“What if I don’t have time to fit it into my schedule?” “Why should I do an internship if my major doesn’t require it?”
What these students don’t realize is that internships are created to give hands-on experience, resume boosts and allow them to become more involved in the community. Internships do not just count for credit; they help students excel.
Valeria Araujo, a junior English major, is the spring 2021 English Department intern. Araujo says that she has not had any internship experience prior to working with the English Department but thought that she should try branching out and wanted to gain some experience.
“Signing up for this internship was kind of on a whim,” says Araujo. “I saw [the application] on Twitter and I thought ‘this would be a really good idea for my spring semester.’”
Araujo says she was excited about her internship this semester and has plans for getting students involved with the department.
“We were thinking about doing bookshelf tours, as well as book recommendations on the Instagram and Twitter accounts,” she says.
Araujo says that her internship this semester was important to her because she is a student who likes to “take any opportunity handed to me at this school and I think an internship can lead to many more job opportunities in the future.”
As a junior, Araujo says that she is not certain what kind of career path she wants to take after graduation, but her internship will give her options.
“Having a variety of different skills is something that is not going to hurt me in the future. Having that opportunity is important,” Araujo says.
She explains that all students should search for internships because “it makes the school community more student-centric. It makes the community more connected, closer and much more fun.”
Alexis Perry, a senior psychology major, worked as an intern in the Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic in Davis Hall during the Fall 2020 semester. Perry says that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her internship was completely remote, but was still able to play an active role as an intern.
“I was able to watch therapy sessions and helped with paperwork,” says Perry.
She also did lots of paperwork and intakes for possible clients at the clinic.
Perry says her internship was so important because it solidified her choice to apply to graduate school to work in the marriage and family therapy field.
“[The internship] really helped me know this is what I want to do,” she says. “If I didn’t do [the internship,] I wouldn’t have had any experience in the field.”
Perry says that all students should consider applying for internships because it builds experience, no matter what field or major a student is in.
“It helps to get yourself exposed to the field. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but it’s a really good learning and growth experience. I set goals for myself and actually saw myself achieving them,” says Perry. “It made me grow as a person.”
Gabriela Vazquez, a graduate student, majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance, recently completed an internship with Yale-New Haven Hospital. She visited patients and talked to them about resources at the hospital. Vazquez says she is now working as a graduate intern at the University Access Programs.
“In my current internship, I oversee students from underrepresented communities to give them more support throughout their four years of college,” Vazquez says.
For students who think they do not have the time to take on an internship, Araujo recommends that they look at their schedules and see what things they might be able to move around. She says that internships are available to help students learn and they should take any opportunity they can to explore one. Araujo adds that although she found her internship via social media, some students have difficulty finding an internship that works for them.
“If you’re having trouble finding an internship, talk to your teachers. Having an open communication with my professors has helped me learn more about internships and scholarships,” Araujo says.
Students who are struggling to find internships through school or in the community should reach out to “a professor or someone you feel like you can talk to,” says Perry.
She adds that there are resources, both on campus and online that help students find internships suited to their interests. For students who don’t feel that internships are necessary or important, Perry says they should give it a try. She says that “it doesn’t matter what major you’re in, I think it can help you so much, even in learning about yourself.”
Perry adds that she “felt really stuck before going into the internship.” She said she had an idea of what she wanted to do but took on the internship at the MFT Clinic to try it out. “I ended up really liking it. This is something I like and something I am good at.”
This semester, Araujo is excited to learn more about the English department and everyone in it. She says that she is looking forward to connecting with students and collaborating with the community to foster a sense of togetherness.
“I’m really excited to do all the social media work and get to know all the faculty and everyone in the major,” she says. “I want to get to a point in the internship where people are bringing events to us. I feel that it’s more collaborative that way. I’m really excited.”
“I’m able to look back and look at my experiences and I’m able to engage in conversation and give life to my experiences,” she says. “That’s something I wouldn’t have if I never was involved on campus or have done any internships.”
By Elizabeth Mercado