This is a guest post by Elizabeth Hecht ’14, Economics Major, Communication (Public Relations) Minor and Intern in the Office for Undergraduate Students.
VIP Mentors is a new student network that aims to connect students within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who have successfully completed internship experiences with students who have a sincere interest in participating in engaging internship experiences. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the evening of January 24, 2013 students from all different classes, with a wide range of interests, came together in the library to discuss internships and eat pizza. These students, some whom had never had an internship before, and others who had had one or more, came together to share their experiences and ask questions. Set up in a speed-dating format, the students were given a chance to have multiple conversations in an extremely relaxed environment.
I was able to talk with a number of students and all of the conversations flowed with ease. This past summer I interned for an Australian police department in their public relations unit; I was able to discuss my experience with those who had never had an internship and wanted to learn more. It was interesting listening to the other students and hearing about their career aspirations. Some of the students I talked to were interested in public relations, like I am, and it was great to discuss this area in depth. One student wants to focus on social media, which was exciting because I was able to share with her my experience from this summer. Some of the other students were interested in areas completely different from mine. One student is a triple science major and told me all about the doctors and surgeons he is going to have an opportunity to shadow this summer. It sounded like a fascinating opportunity and something you only see on television.
But no matter what major, everyone had similar questions. The two most asked questions were: “Where do I start looking for an internship?” and “What is an employer going to expect from me?” These were the same questions I asked when I first started. I was so overwhelmed because I had no idea where to even begin looking and I did not know what employers would require. Having had the same questions and concerns, I was able to give some advice, which will hopefully make their situation less stressful. I was able to share my knowledge of GoNovaJobs and confirm that employers are not going to expect you to know everything on your first day.
At the end of the session I spoke with other students who had had internships and we swapped stories. I spoke with one student who is currently interning with the Department of Defense, working on computer software programs, and another student who spent her summer working for Aflac. Because we worked in different areas it was cool to compare our different experiences. This was a great and valuable event that I would definitely recommend to all students regardless of their current stage in the internship process.