With the stress of choosing a major combined with the worry of whether or not it’s the right major for you, many students turn to internships to get a better idea of what their future might look like.
On Wednesday, March 1, an Internship Showcase was held in the Putnam Science Center to give students a chance to see how internships may benefit them.
Service Learning and Internship Coordinator Karen Balnis, who is one of the people behind the Internship Showcase, said that internships can have numerous benefits to students, both toward their careers as well as their learning experiences.
“When you’re thinking specifically about career, it gives straightforward experience, something to put on a résumé,” Balnis said.
According to Balnis, an internship that incorporates a faculty member, which requires frequent reflections, ties in your work experience with your learning experience.
The Internship Showcase, consisting of a panel as well as a poster showing and reception, lasted from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and featured students who have completed internships in the past.
In the fall of 2016, 147 students participated in internships.
One of those students, Lexy Tiffany, worked as a Marketing Intern at The Colonial Theatre for a semester. Tiffany said her experience was one-of-a-kind.
“It was way better than taking a class,” Tiffany said. “I had so much fun.”
Tiffany said she would recommend that everyone complete an internship would even recommend multiple internships if it fits into your schedule because internships can provide so much more hands-on experience.
Another student presenting their experience, Rodney Jean-Marie, ended up traveling a bit further for his internship, but the benefits were all the same. Jean-Marie worked as a Safety Coordinator at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I learned a lot more during an internship than I did in the classroom, which is key,” Jean-Marie said. “I came back [to Keene State College] and was able to apply everything that I learned in that internship in the classroom.”
Jean-Marie also said the benefits of his internship weren’t just about the work he was doing.
“It was a good experience to get away from home; I had never been down south,” Jean-Marie said. “It was interesting to see the type of culture down there as well.”
Students weren’t the only ones explaining the perks of internships during the showcase, as there were professors there as well.
Associate Professor of Management at Keene State College (KSC) Linda Hadden said in her experience, most feedback she receives regarding her students in internships has been very good.
“Most of the interns that I’ve placed, it’s been a really good fit,” Hadden said.
Hadden also said that internships can have both short and long-term impacts on the students partaking in them.
“From the short term, it might help them get the first job. It can certainly help them in terms of identifying what they like and don’t like,” Hadden said. “In terms of long term, I think, once again, helping them fine tune what they want to do. And a lot of times, it gives them that experience because companies are looking for experience.”
According to Hadden, an internship can also provide students with a chance to really get a feel for the work that their potential job consists of, as opposed to reading about the responsibilities in a job description.
While gaining experience is one of the perks of completing an internship, it’s also a common concern among students, according to Balnis, but that there’s no need to worry.
“Many employers are looking to train students themselves,” Balnis said. When asked what kind of advice she would give to a student who was concerned about getting involved with an internship, Balnis said she would tell them not to worry and to dive right in and “do their best.”
Crae Messer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org