Today’s job market is tough, especially for new college graduates. Employers are seeking young graduates who have real work experience. Internships allow college students to learn valuable skills in their areas of interest, explore career options, and learn responsibility. Sometimes, internships can lead to permanent employment after college graduation.
Admissions on Track interviewed two college students about their summer internship experiences. Nick is a senior at Boston College and interned at JP Morgan as a Tax Intern. Patrick is a junior at the University of Maryland and interned for the Maryland General Assembly, Office of State Senator Rich Madaleno.
How did you learn about your summer experience?
Patrick: I found out about the internship through a friend who had also interned at the Maryland General Assembly, and after that I went to my college’s advising and internship office where they connected me with the internship coordinator at the General Assembly.
Nick: BC’s career services program was very helpful with potential internships for me. However, I found the internship I ultimately landed by networking with family friends.
What were your responsibilities?
Patrick: My responsibilities mostly consisted of doing research on upcoming legislation and writing response letters to constituents. Most of my time was spent looking up and learning about legislation ranging from important civil rights protections for transgender people to obscure oyster fishing policies. I also contacted constituents. I was given the occasional messenger task and clerical duties.
Nick: I was responsible for learning the basics of tax and helping out other members of the team with whatever work they needed.
What skills did you learn? Skills may include professional as well as interpersonal and life skills.
Patrick: I learned how a professional office is run. I learned a ton, from important things like how to dress and how to address my superiors, to small tasks like making sure to refill the Keurig after use. As for more practical life skills, I definitely believe I have become a better writer and a more attentive listener, as well as significantly more organized.
What was the most surprising thing you learned?
Patrick: I learned how nice working nine to five can be. When you’re a college student, you definitely dread getting a “real job” and moving into the forty-hour workweek. But, it was really nice to be able to go home at 5pm and not have to worry about any homework, studying, or papers from my internship.
Nick: I was pleasantly surprised by how well all of the interns got along. It was nothing like the typical stereotype in which all of the interns are competing with each other to be the best; in fact we all worked very well as a team
Did this experience give you any insights into your possible career path?
Patrick: I enjoyed my internship so much that I would love to work in the Maryland General Assembly as a legislative aid or chief of staff at some point in my career.
Nick: I really liked my internship, and it definitely furthered my interest in going into the tax profession in the future
What advice would you give other students looking for internships?
Patrick: To make sure you do it! No matter what, ask your professors if they have any references or ideas, go to your school’s advising office or career center, and make sure to read all of the emails you get that advertise internships. There are hundreds of internship opportunities available to students in every field imaginable, so there is no excuse not to get an internship if you want one. I truly believe I learned more in my one internship than any class has taught me thus far in college.
Nick: Try to go the extra mile to really show your interest in the position. This will definitely distinguish you from other candidates. Use every resource you have to find a position: college career services, alumni network, family, friends, etc.
Admissions on Track wishes Nick and Patrick much success this academic year and in their future careers.
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