A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Internships

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In the dynamic and competitive landscape of the professional world, internships stand as the gateway to a transformative and enlightening experience for aspiring professionals. The journey from academia to the workforce is often paved with uncertainties, and internships emerge as a crucial stepping stone that not only bridges the gap between theory and practice but also opens doors to unparalleled learning and growth.

We are about to embark on the mid-year crisis part of college life now. First-year students who have just gotten the jist of college life will now start wondering about hopping onto newer opportunities other than college societies; second-year students will go down a spiral of dread wondering how time flies and that they are so close to graduating; and third-year students will do anything in the world just to add more things to their CV. The answer to all these people’s quests will be internships. Here’s the perfect guide to deciding what might work best for you:

If we lived in a utopian world where we had endless amounts of time and people did things only for the experience and new adventures, I’d ask you to do internships for the sake of it. But let’s be real: nobody has the time to add extra things to their already busy schedule just for fun unless it benefits them in the long run. To put it simply, think about your life goals. If you are someone who will start looking for a job after graduation, an internship will surely help you. College internships don’t give you a lot of exposure, but they do make you familiar with a “work environment” and get you connections with some of the renowned names in the industry. If you wish to pursue a postgraduate degree, then, depending on what discipline you master, you can decide if you should spend time at the graduate level on internships or allocate that time to preparing for competitive exams. Most people who go for CAT consider it necessary for applicants to have internship experience. Many colleges, especially foreign ones, include a stipulated work experience requirement for applicants. It is often hard to pinpoint right now the job that you are sure to love in the future, but I have found it helpful to at least eliminate options that you are not at all inclined towards. It helps to narrow your horizons and helps to get a clear understanding of your interests.

When you are working as a full-time employee, the company needs you as much as you need it. But the paradigm shifts in the case of interns. Interns find themselves needing the company a lot more than it needs them. Interns can be easily replaced by anyone from the hundreds of others seeking that position, willing to work for free. Thus, the demand for a stipend, however meagre, is always silenced in exchange for the value the intern adds to the company. Most internships are unpaid, and while the prospect of them doesn’t seem very attractive, some of them might be worth it. Internships at startups usually offer excellent work environments, but the work may be a little overbearing at times. Since the people at startups are closer to your age, they tend to understand your situation better and offer a curated, personalised work environment for you. An internship at an NGO is one for a great cause, but it has the worst clauses. NGOs require your physical availability, and most of the work there is based on networking and social media content creation. The work undertaken by NGOs is fueled by an unwavering dedication to altruism, a selfless devotion that transcends personal ambition. The most popular unpaid internships are government internships, and the chance of anyone getting in is minute because they are open to students across all colleges for all years. However, they are known to shine the brightest on anyone’s CV. The idea here with both government internships as well as internships at big companies is that they’ll filter you out from a series of rigorous rounds and interviews, and at the end of the day, internships do not matter as much as where you intern does.

After you have figured out which type of internship suits you best based on time constraints, interest, and pay, it’s time to start looking for one! The first place for you to go is your own college’s placement cell page. Here, you are bound to find one that might work for you, plus if this is your first internship, it will be easier for you to navigate through the recruitment process with the help of the people from your college. If you have a particular company or organisation in mind, you’ll have to be on the lookout for their posts on LinkedIn as well as their other social media handles. There are some apps and websites like Internshala and LetsLearn that have a great set of opportunities for students and also assist with CV and resume building. All year long, volunteering opportunities are offered by organisations such as PETA, UNESCO, and others that provide internships in event management and outreach programs. Many YouTubers would also tell you a hack to email your resume and cover letter to any organisation and gaslight them into thinking that they did put out an internship opportunity and you’ve sent in your response. I’m not sure if that has ever worked for anyone, but what’s the harm in trying?

Internships play a pivotal role in shaping the professional journey of college students. Beyond providing a first-hand glimpse into the workings of industries and companies, internships offer invaluable opportunities for skill development, networking, and personal growth. They bridge the gap between academic knowledge and real-world application. What sets apart a “good” internship opportunity from another is how well-suited it is for the individual. The idea of an internship is to give you a chance to experiment with the real world, and if you don’t allow yourself to fail, no internship can ever be worth your time. So, breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, and breathe out!

You got this!

Read Also: Unpaid Internships: Are they Worth it?

Image Credits: People Matters

Saanvi Manchanda

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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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