Howdy, I had the greatest opportunity four days ago. I watched the sunrise from the beach. Watching the sun peek up over the horizon before showing its full face was beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me just how awesome our world and Creator are.
The point of that story, beyond the fact that it was a really cool experience, is that the trip to the beach brought me past the Chamber of Commerce building. Last year I had the opportunity to intern with the St. John’s County Chamber of Commerce and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as learning many valuable skills.
What I Learned From My Internship
We are going to dive into several of the skills I learned right now and show why it is worth it for *you* to look at an internship this summer. Let’s start with a few general pointers I learned.
- Connections are key. I should copyright that phrase and sell it! Seriously though, I saw business deals occur time and time again because person A had a relationship with person B. Money often had little to do with it.
- Being able to present yourself confidently is extremely important.
- Leading is important, but often being able to listen is a far better choice. I learned how helpful this tip can be early on there. Because I listened I was able to meet and associate with many business leaders in St. Augustine.
I learned from the Chamber just how important each of these facets of business are. The president of the committee I worked with was extremely helpful in helping me understand how each piece of the puzzle fits together.
Is Interning Really Worth It?
Internships are great opportunities, they also takes a bit of a short term sacrifice. I have thoroughly enjoyed interning. I would do it again in a heartbeat (for real – I am working on another one this summer) but there is also something that you have to give. Money. You won’t make much money with an internship. The value of internships aren’t monetary, but skills gained. This means that while your friends are working on a summer job making $8.05 an hour, you will be learning skills that will help you throughout your entire career.
Is interning really worth? I had to answer this question last year, and I just answered it again while contemplating this summer’s plans. I think that it is definitely worth it. And I have a good reason for saying that. During my internship with the Chamber last year one of my jobs was to go through resumes and help select the individual who would fill the “Government Relations Manager” position. When going through resumes with the president, I repeatedly saw her select individuals with *Experience* over position. Sure, last summer I didn’t make money because of the Chamber. But I left with so much more knowledge (and many more connections) than my friend who spent the summer helping as a lifeguard.
What Kind of Internships Should You Consider?
On top of all the benefits of an academic internship, many other kinds of internship are available. You can also consider interning with a local church ministry or a place like “Foster Closet” which is a great organization here in Jacksonville. Or, if you are looking on a national or international scale, sites such as (http://www.goabroad.com/intern-abroad) could be beneficial to you. No matter where you end up interning this summer, the benefits of internships are endless.
Here is what you have to decide, do you want to make a little bit of extra money this summer or do you want to help your career as a whole and make yourself more desirable to hire in the future? When I looked at it this way it was a pretty simple decision. I decided that long term hire-ability was more important than a little extra summer cash. In my humble (ish) opinion, there is no better way to spend your summer than building up your future.