Thanks to movies, when most students and graduates hear “internship” their initial thought may be they are required to get coffee for everyone that works in the office. I’m here to let you know, it is the complete opposite. Internships are the catalysts that help you get your feet wet within your career. Whether it is paid or unpaid, the experience is priceless. You may think, “why get an internship, I learned all this in class.” On the contrary, what you learn in class does not equate to what you learn on the job. You work with real life situations, cases and clients. In class, your grade hinges on how well you follow the syllabus and directions given by your professors. Once you know the formula, it’s pretty easy to fall in line. In an internship, you are given space to find your own voice, tempo, work ethic and vibe. Also, in an internship there is never a set routine. Every day is different and there is always something new to learn. I see internships as the final step before you spread your wings and fly.  You build connections with others in the “real world”. You gain experience that class cannot provide for you. You get to travel and create memories. You get to grow, learn, ask questions and gain new insights. You get to meet some pretty cool people too.

The goal of an internship is to get better. Your internship directors are here to make sure you do not fall when try to fly. I know most majors require internships, and that’s not a bad thing.  Where else can make major mistakes and not lose your job.  As a recent college graduate, I understand the frustration of searching countless days trying to find a job and only ending up with internships within your search.  This happened to me and I must admit I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would.  At this point in my career I would like to have a job but as intern I have a chance to avoid the pressures that come with full-time employment.  I’m doing a lot and learning so much and when I make a mistake it’s turned into a teaching moment which I really appreciate.   So my advice to all college students? Get an internship, make mistakes, gain knowledge, learn about yourself and your work ethic. Lastly, get as much experience as you can. It will help you fly high in the workforce!


Rebekah Gaillard is a recent graduate of Ball State University and working as an intern at Herd Strategies.