by Prateek Bhargava
For most of us, school life is a time of extensive learning, joy and memories that make up some of the best years of our lives. It often provides a protective environment that shelters us within its four walls.
Throughout the school journey, most students have limited exposure to the outside world that awaits them beyond the school walls. An internship is the best antidote to this sheltered living, one that promises to take you on a journey of knowledge acquisition and professional guidance that lies beyond your comfort zone.
The idea that internships are just for college students is a misconception. Remember the tech-wiz, Steve Jobs? He started acquiring his software development skills in high school while interning for Hewlett-Packard! An internship can act as the perfect platform for you to build skills, choose the right career, get a taste of professional life, and witness all that the world has to offer.
There are several different ways you can benefit by interning as a school student. Here are seven:
Meet and network with professionals in the field of your interest
Interns are paid in experience, and this experience has the ability to expose school students to a world that lies beyond their immediate environment. Internships help you create a web of professionals and learned individuals. Having access to them can make your career decision simpler by providing clarity.
Such people are aware of the nitty-gritties of the industry and can tell you how to survive in a competitive environment by providing tips based on their experience.
For instance, a clinical psychologist can impart her knowledge about her profession to you, telling you about the kind of problems clients come with on a daily basis, the emotional baggage that comes with the job and how to handle situations confronted on the professional front.
Get professional feedback
Feedback is a suggestion from a person who advises you to do things differently or in a better way that can improve the quality of your work. Feedback makes you confront faults you never realized you had. Based on their years of experience in the field, professionals can correct you when you are swaying in the wrong direction, and this feedback can help your career boat sail smoothly in the turbulent seas between school and college.
For example, a writer can give you feedback on your writing by suggesting you which mood, tense, tones, and vocabulary will engage readers the most and how you can work upon it.
Internships are an opportunity to refine your skills and build your CV. Due to lack of exposure, school students are amateurs. Experiential learning through internships can enhance their overall personality. During internships you can work on developing your personality, communication and organizational skills, writing, and other career-specific skills, laying down the foundations of your career.
For example, if you have a flair for art and design, interning with a graphic design firm will hone your skillset and aid you in learning new skills that you did not previously possess. In this manner, internships add a tinge of professionalism to your working style.
Explore a career path and decide upon subjects for college
Everyone is uncertain of their future especially school students for they don’t know which college, course and career path they are going to tread on. Internships allow such students to explore different fields and find the one that suits them the most. This allows you to learn what interests you through your experience and then make an informed decision.
For instance, an aspiring Engineer by interning with an engineering firm can get an idea of what the job feels like and which course of Engineering branch to apply for in college.
Strengthen Your Resume
Resume is an amalgamation of your personality, achievements and skills that qualifies you for an admit to a college, and still later, to bag a job. Experience is everything in the professional workspace since it helps you put theory to practical use, and application of theoretical knowledge is the most important skill that one should possess. This can only be acquired through internships. High school internships will showcase your hard work to acquire field-specific skills at an early age and make you a desired candidate for college admission or job.
Find role models and mentors
Interns can find people during their internships who have the ability to inspire them. People who are in the industry since long, have gathered loads of knowledge and such people can act as role models and mentors for students during and after the internship. These role models can guide you through your career journey and motivate you to work harder. Coming across such people during your high school will lay down your road to success and simplify your life and career.
To survive in today’s world, confidence is no more a want, it has transformed into a need. A confident individual can face the world and its challenges. Usually school students do not possess a confident personality due to lack of exposure. Hence, internships will help them in gaining confidence. This confidence-building platform helps students to test their skills in the real world and act confidently in day-to-day situations.
How to Find an Internship?
Now, if you’re wondering how you can land an internship opportunity suited for you, here are a few ways you can find one:
- Look for internships on internship portals like Internshala, Interntheory, LetsIntern, etc.
- Approach your school for summer internships they can help you get in.
- Sign up with local non-profit organizations as an intern.
- Inquire with your personal connections if they can offer you an internship.
- Look for organizations in your field of choice through LinkedIn and job portals, and approach them for an internship opportunity.
One should commence removing the layers of comfort that they have built over years of schooling, and interning helps you do so through exposure, professional feedback, enhanced skills, helpful mentors and lots more.
So what are you waiting for, dive into an internship while still at school to gain a headstart in your career ahead!
Prateek Bhargava is founder and CEO of Mindler, a career guidance platform.