Life is all about experiences.
College is all about growth and learning. In my earlier post about the hard lessons you learn in college, I talk about some of the lessons I have been taught throughout my time in college.
While in college, it is so important to take every opportunity to fully understand if you are on the right career path or not, which is why you need to intern in college. When you take the time to work in the field you intend on majoring in, you not only learn whether this is the right path for you, but you learn so many valuable life skills.
Although all of my co-ops are paid, there are some majors that companies rarely offer payment for internships. This could be due to many reasons, such as an abundant amount of applicants that they don’t have to offer payment, because they know someone will take the job. This is the case for my sister, who is going to college for international affairs and just got accepted to two different internships! One of them is paid, which is a rarity in her field of study, so she pretty much has to take it!
I am currently in school for Biomedical Engineering and in my program, it is strongly encouraged to enroll in a curriculum that contains three to four co-op rotations with one or several companies. Although co-oping tacked on an extra year of schooling, leaving me about a year and a half left until I graduate, I am beyond thankful that I chose to co-op for so many reasons.
Learn what you like and don’t like
When you are exposed to different jobs, you get a feel for what kind of work you actually want to do when you graduate. I have worked at three completely different companies so far and although a couple of them were not exactly what I wanted to be working on, I am so thankful for the experience. Because I had those jobs, I now know what I do not want to do when I graduate.
I firmly believe that even if you do not like a job you are currently at, it is still a very important stepping stone. I would much rather try out different types of jobs and not like them, than always wondering “what if?” When you have a job that you do not like, you are that much closer to landing your dream job that you will LOVE.
During my co-ops, I have been given various jobs that directly impact the company. When I felt like I was truly benefiting the company, I took my job so much more seriously. I loved that at each job I was given these responsibilities because it helped me learn what it is like to be employed as a full-time engineer.
Not only does interning or co-oping allow you to have important tasks, but you also learn what it is like to be responsible for my own actions. Not that I was ever late for work (I like arriving early to make sure traffic or anything else don’t make me late), but if I were to consistently be tardy without a valid excuse, there would be consequences…like anything else in the real world.
Related Post: 30 Hard Lessons You Learn in College
Have an opportunity to live in a new city
Because your hometown does not house every company you would like to work for, you may be required to search outside your city for co-op or intern opportunities. This benefit doesn’t directly relate to your co-op experience, but it will help you learn more about yourself. Like I stated in this post about living on my own in my 20s, you not only learn about how to live on your own, but also what truly matters to you in life, such as family. Because I have lived in a different city, I am a firm believer that everyone should try it out at least once in their life to determine the best fit for them.
Related Post: Why You Need to Live on Your Own in Your 20s
This is by far the most important reason why you need to have an internship or co-op in college. While you are in school, it is so easy to find companies who are willing to hire students to work for them. Getting a job is so competitive right now, that if you have any experience in your field of study, you have so much greater of an advantage than someone who did not take an internship or co-op opportunity.
For me, this is also extremely important because in my field of study, companies will rarely even look at your resume if they don’t see any kind of relevant work experience. This is the case for many other employers too!
Have you had any internships or co-ops in college? Did you think that time was beneficial to your career?
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