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Let's Talk Internships

by Kami Rieck

photography courtesy of Minh Anh Nguyen

The school year is in full swing, the workload has ramped up, career fairs have already been scheduled and the pressure to build up a stellar resume is tangible. Many Boston University students have already been scrolling through Handshake and LinkedIn, hunting for spring internships. The idea of breaking into the work industry seems like the perfect head start, but committing to both school and an internship can bear challenges.

Every student has crossed an arduous point in their academic career where adding another responsibility seems unbearable. The workload and rigor of school are strenuous on its own, and while waiting until summer to pursue an internship seems like the simplest solution, there are many benefits to interning during the school year.

Heather Fink, Assistant Director of Career Services at Boston University’s College of Communication, said learning in the classroom and getting hands-on experience is equally important, as both experiences complement each other.

“Without learning case studies and theories, you may not know what to do when you’re on the job and a problem occurs,” Fink said. “Internships are also important because they enhance learning by requiring you to apply the concepts you learned in class.”

Internships not only provide the opportunity to channel one’s passions and explore different career paths, but also allow one to develop their professional network beyond the classroom. This can help students secure jobs following graduation and further their career.

Josee Matela (COM ’20, CAS ’20) is currently a community engagement intern at WBUR and an editorial intern at Boston University School of Law. She shared how these two experiences taught her lessons that can be applied to any industry beyond just radio and publishing.

“Working at WBUR has taught me about the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at a large station. Working at Law has taught me the importance of always improving and treating every piece with the same amount of care.”

While Matela stays persistent on getting involved outside the classroom, she is not the first to admit that balancing an overloaded course schedule, extracurriculars, part-time jobs and internships is still a work in progress.

“It’s overwhelming, especially when it feels like you’re always trying to catch up where you think you need to be,” said Matela. “There are a lot of times where I’m double booked or something unexpected happens, and the perfectly planned day I had goes awry.”

Students should consider that most internships are flexible and rarely entail full-time hours during the school year. There are even opportunities to work remotely if the commute prohibits a student from taking the job. Having an open dialogue with employers about extracurriculars and establishing hours during finals week is key to ensuring a smooth experience.

At the end of the day, both of these ladies can attest that gaining tastes of the real world is an invaluable experience during the academic year.

“I would definitely encourage students to pursue an internship during the school year,” said Matela. “At BU, there’s no shortage of connections or people willing to help you out, so definitely go for it.”

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