Many students have heard that getting an internship is an important part of their college career that will give them an advantage in their job searches after graduation.
Senior broadcast media major Mason Devers has held several internships. He is currently in Washington D.C. as an intern with the House Committee on Small Business.
“I want to work in politics, so I will most likely be moving back up here after I graduate from APSU,” Devers said.
Though the internship is unpaid, Devers said the experience is what matters.
“I think a lot of the experience that you get is very valuable and I think that equals out with getting paid,” Devers said.
Jordan Burns graduated from APSU in 2017 with a degree in public relations. She had three internships while she was a student. Her internship at Five Star Media Group led to her current job at the company.
“It was a requirement for my degree to have at least one internship, but they encouraged more if possible,” Burns said.
Burns also said that the experience of an internship is valuable, even when it is unpaid.
“I did one internship that wasn’t for credit and it wasn’t paid, I was just an intern,” Burns said. “I really just wanted the experience. I thought it was a good opportunity.”
Burns said she understands why some people feel that interns should be compensated.
“I do understand where people think interns should be paid, but I don’t think they have to be because it is providing you with real life experience, and I really think that it’s an opportunity that can help you grow and gain a lot of knowledge,” Burns said.
Though interns have often been thought to do “grunt work,” Devers said his internships have given him hands-on practice.
“I’m actually getting to work with the communications director and press secretary directly,” Devers said. “It’s a lot of hands on things helping them research stuff, not just completely admin work which is one of the reasons I picked this internship.”
Burns also got field experience in her internships.
“Sometimes people think that it’s all grunt work but it’s really not I did a lot of valuable work for the companies I interned for,” Burns said. “They treated me like an employee rather than just an intern.”
Devers said that internships are important for students who are not sure what they want to do yet. An internship during his freshman year led to a job.
“At the time I was thinking I wanted to go to law school,” Devers said. “Doing an internship and working at a training office for over a year, that helped me figure out that I did not want to do that.”
Students who are sure of their path should still consider internships, Devers said.
“Even once you have figured it out internships will help you make connections and network,” Devers said.
Both Devers and Burns said the opportunity to network is a benefit of internships.
“I think that it does open a lot of doors for people and it helps with getting a lot of contacts for references for the future,” Burns said. “All the internship coordinators that I interned for are now references on my resume.”