This past summer I had the opportunity to work for Whirlpool Corporation as a Finance Development Intern. I didn’t expect to get an internship as quickly as I did or with that big of a company, and let me tell you, I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I showed up in May! But, this Summer was one of the most important experiences I’ve had so far. Here’s why:

  1.     Internships let you test out a company

You can read all you want about a company, but until you are able to get in the building and really see how people work you won’t truly know what it is like. Internships let you get a feel for how different companies operate. This will let you figure out what you like and don’t like about a company.

  1.     Internships give you experience you cannot get in the classroom

Remember that marketing presentation you had to do? What about that research presentation? Classwork is good practice to simulate some activities you may do on the job. However, no amount of in class work will let you truly know what it is like to work on a project for a company.

  1.     Internships allow you to test fields you might want to go into

If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, internships can help you figure out what industries you like and don’t like. For example, I thought I wanted to go into Finance, but after spending a summer looking at Excel, I realized that isn’t something I’m super passionate about. Internships are a low-stakes way to figure out what you may or may not want to go into before you take a job opportunity.

  1.     Internships help show you what you like and don’t like

As I have mentioned before, internships help you see the traits you like or don’t like about a company, industry, or culture. Maybe you like working collaboratively in a small office space rather than solo in a large corporation. Maybe you want international work and cross-functional communications on the job. Or maybe you want to serve at a missions-focused non-profit organization. Whatever the case may be, the only way to really discern what you want in a full-time job is to work like an actual employee.

  1.     Internships let you ease into #adulting

This is probably the biggest plus of an internship. Working a full-time or part-time internship is a great way to experience what life will be like after college. Sure it’s not exactly the same: the stakes are a lot lower, and you may be living at home, but internships let you experience real life as a working professional in whatever field you may go into. The time you spend at your internship will help you grow and stretch as a person outside of college life.

Essentially what I’m getting at with this Tip Tuesday is go GET YOURSELF AN INTERNSHIP! It doesn’t matter if you want to go into law, education, health, or psychology. Take time to shadow people, do an externship, or find a way to fully immerse yourself in what you might be doing in the future.

Despite what you might think, the people and the overall aura of a company truly matter beyond your work. You’ll see that looking at spreadsheets, helping patients, or teaching involve similar skills across all organizations, but it’s the people that make what you do a drag or fun and engaging. Internships will give a chance to test the waters of the industry you think you want to go into before you actually dive in, and trust me, your future self will be so grateful that you did!

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