As the summer ends and all of the academic universities begin to prepare for the new school year, the students print out their schedules for classes and pack up their last bit of luggage to be hauled along with them to campus. Many of us are searching for jobs, buying books and worrying about whether or not our financial aid will kick in on time. Completing the long list of classes for our course curriculum is always the first things on our minds (especially now with all of the educational budget cuts) but should all of these things be the only focus on our minds? What about internships?
Interning for your intended field of business has its many benefits, but many of these internship positions that students obtain are not paid. Students are often left debating on whether or not the internship is worth the lack of time they could have been using at a paid position, and they pass on internship opportunities unless it is absolutely required of them.
Those people, unfortunately, are missing out on the benefits of an internship.
"We're looking for someone with experience in the field in which you are applying." Have you ever hear the phrase and then thought to yourself, well I can't get a job because I don't have experience, but I can't get any experience if I don't have a job? Breaking the cyclical battle of having no experience comes in the form of a great internship. They give you the hands on insider approach to your particular industry or area of interest and it will give you the experience you need in order to qualify for a job in the future.
It's your time to ask questions related to the job that you would like to pursue, gain knowledge about situations that you may not cover in the classroom and get one-on-one time, if you're lucky, from someone who is up-to-date and working in the industry that you would like to go into.
Internships are also a great chance to show a future employer your skills and let them know why they should hire you. You have the one-up on all of the other recent graduates because your employer already knows you and feels more comfortable hiring someone they have worked with before rather than someone who they know nothing about. The internship develops your two dimensional paper resume into a three dimensional trial run and it's absolutely the best situation that you can be in as a recent graduate who may not be able to find other positions right away.
Internships also fill in the time between graduation and that first position you get in your industry. It definitely makes your resume more appealing to contain a relevant internship rather than a large gap where you spent your time doing other things that you can't necessarily put down on your professional resume.
Not completely sure if you're going to like the type of job that you are planning on having in the future? Well an internship will help you make up your mind. How else are you supposed to find out if you're going to like a job or not if you don't actually go out there and do it? You can talk to people in the field that you would like to enter into until you're blue in the face, but you will never really be sure about YOUR preferences until you just go out there and jump right in to the thick of things.
Networking is an obvious reason why anyone should try getting an internship. It's a great way to meet new people and find others who can help you break into whatever industry you would like to go into. These contacts can act as references for your resume or even mentors that will help guide you on your path to success. It really is all about "who you know" when it comes to getting jobs in today's economy, and it never hurts to know more people who can help you when you're trying to look for a job.
All of these benefits will only help you gain more confidence and resources while you're on the hunt for a career in the future. It gives you an edge up on the students who haven't done an internship before, and the benefits act as an investment and completely outweigh the lack of any pay check.
So start applying for an internship the moment you think that you know what you want to do in life and get a leg up on the competition. It's definitely worth it when the job hunt comes around.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more