One of the greatest experiences you can have outside of the classroom is an internship. Whether it is paid, unpaid, or for class credit, an internship provides a student with real-world experience. Through these experiences, you will learn about the field in which you are hoping to work in one day and what it takes to succeed.
Today, the country celebrates interns of all kind on the first National Intern Day, a day to celebrate all the hard working individuals who contribute to the success of organizations across the country while learning and preparing for their own success in the future. A successful career path is waiting for these students when they finish their internships.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) “Over the last several years, the vast majority of employers with internship (75.2 percent) and co-op (65.9 percent) programs indicated the primary focus of these programs was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions.” Breaking it down, this means that 75.2 percent of internships had the purpose of finding college students to hire after graduation. This is important for many reasons. First, it means that a college internship experience has a high probability of leading to a job offer. Second, it shows that employers really want interns to learn about the company/organization and work environment. Third, there is distinct value behind the internship.
— Nicole Pereira (@nicole__pereira) July 27, 2017
At SUNY, we are dedicated to learning outside of the classroom with our focus on applied learning. Applied learning includes intern opportunities from clinical placements and cooperative education as well as service learning, volunteerism, student research, international opportunities, and field study. It encompasses every kind of learning that happens outside of the classroom, and it is our goal to give every student an opportunity at an experiential education through applied learning.
On a personal note, I completed an internship that changed my life. My junior year of college, I completed an internship with the New York State Assembly. It ran from January-May with the opportunity to extend through June if the office needed the help. The internship counted as 15 credits and included a stipend (the best of both worlds). I did extend through June and ended up landing a job with a different Assemblyman as his legislative aide. I got the position through recommendations from the Assemblyman I interned for as well as people who saw my work ethic in the Assembly. Not only did I have a great job my senior year of college, but I made connections that will last a lifetime. I love my job and I would not have gotten it if I hadn’t completed the internship.
If you have the option to intern, take it. There are summer experiences, semester experiences, and everything in between. Take the opportunity and find out if the field you want to go into is actually the right one. Internships provide you with connections that can lead to unexpected opportunities.
Their is a profound appreciation for the talent, skill, and contributions we get from interns throughout SUNY. We value the work of our interns everyday, but with today being #NationalInternDay, it is also #SUNYInternDay. Let us take the time to offer an additional thank you for all the hardworking interns in the SUNY system!
Sarah Petrak is a student assistant with the Office of Communications and New Media for SUNY System Administration. She is a studying Public Policy at the University at Albany.