This blog post was written by Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Brittaney Lynch from UMass Amherst.
The amount of times I've heard about the importance of internships is too many to count. Whether it's my parents, my professors or the advisors at UMass's career services center, I am always being reminded that internships are essential to gaining valuable work experience. There have been many in-office skills I've acquired from having internships, but my internships have also provided me with everyday life experiences that are just as important. Here are a few things I've learned from my internship at Youth Marketing Connection in Boston this summer, experiences that have allowed me to appreciate my internship more than I already do.
Discover New Places
Although I only live an hour from the city, I've only visited Boston a few times in my life so I wasn't familiar with the city and all it has to offer. Thanks to the awesome people I work with, I was able to learn where to get the best local coffee, pitas, and humongous chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches (Frozen Hoagies, because I know you were wondering.) I was able to discover the Boston Harbor and the most scenic places to sit, soak up the sun and eat lunch. Interning in a big city or even in a small city that you aren't familiar with is a great way to find new favorite places.
Get A Sense of Where You'd Like to Live
Going from living in the suburbs to spending most of your time in the city or vice versa allows you to take into consideration where you'd like to live someday or where you see yourself residing after college. Maybe the fast-paced city life is for you and maybe it's not. Either way, you'll find out a lot more about your personal living preferences.
I definitely support leisurely time with co-workers or fellow interns outside the office. While there is a time and place for professionalism, I think it is good to get to know one another. The workplace simply feels more comfortable and can be more productive when you are able to learn about your co-workers in a different light that isn't work related. It can also lead to friendships that you'll take with you even after the internship has ended.
Travel On Your Own
If your internship involves a means of travel, you may learn a lot about transportation services. You can call me the commuter rail expert. From fares to arrival times, I've definitely been able to brush up on my knowledge of train transportation. The most difficult part of traveling is figuring out how much time you need to get from one place to the other so that you arrive at your internship on time, especially if your route involves a train or a bus. Once you have it all figured out though you'll be able to sit back, crack open the book you've been wanting to read and enjoy the ride.
Having an internship is often similar to having a nine to five job. You're getting a sense of what the real world is like and with the real world comes independence. Traveling on your own, making your own judgments and decisions, and being responsible for completing the work that you're assigned are all factors that allow you to better develop a sense of independence. No more copying your best friend's homework assignment because you didn't have time to get to it last night. It's time to rely on yourself and only yourself.
Become the Person You Want to Be
An internship may not cause you to suddenly "find yourself," but it can definitely help! By the end of your internship you could have an idea of the type of life you want to lead or where you want to end up after college. Maybe you're someone who wants to work for a non-profit and big corporations just aren't for you. Maybe you want to travel the world building houses for neighborhoods in need. Maybe you're a busy body and you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the high-end fashion industry. No matter what you prefer, your internship can help you figure it out.
So next time you have a day that you feel like you didn't learn as much as you wanted, remind yourself that you're getting so much more out of your internship than you thought. Think outside the box and discover the hidden value in your internship!