Ups and Downs

Internships prepare students for the real world

Most universities require an internship to fulfill major requirements; John Brown University is no exception. Even if the curriculum does not require one, most professors strongly encourage students to apply for at least one.

An internship provides a valuable understanding about the major field, according to Quintessential Careers. Interns can develop skills learned about in class, learn new skills, gain confidence, build-up their networks and their resumes.

“It is important to get real world experience with people who know what they are doing,” Elyse Partee, senior history major and museum studies minor, said. Partee did her internship at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre in Washington, D.C. She expressed what a great opportunity it was to learn how to communicate with authority.

Students, such as senior graphic design major, Madison Gies, decided to get an early start on the internship process. During her time in college, Gies has had three separate internships, all of which have allowed her to apply her knowledge and gain real-world experience.

“You are taught those (skills) in classes but you do not really understand the industry until you get there,” Gies said.

Sometimes internships turn out different than the expectations set by students.

Leah Guy, senior psychology and family and human services major, explained that she did not do many activities related to her field of study during her internship. Most of the time, she was working in fundraising development.

“Even though my internship was not perfect, I am super glad I did it. I know it will be beneficial for me in the future,” Guy said.

Professional mentors have a huge role in the learning process of their interns. Gies said that during her first internship, she was treated as a worker instead of an intern.

“They just wanted me to produce quick work,” she said.

During second internship, she was treated as an intern and felt the difference between the experiences. She said that even though treatment might not be what a student expects, it is wise to do work hard.

“I gain connections for right now and the future. And I have more people and more places who know who I am,” Guy said.

Doing an internship is not only about facing the challenges but also enjoying the working experience. At the end of the day, Gies really enjoyed finishing projects and knowing that her work was being used. And Partee enjoyed show days when the museum showcased performances for children.