I am UIC: Apply knowledge through internships
Internships, paid or unpaid, are the perfect route to discovering whether you actually enjoy your field of interest or completely dread it. It is also the best way to apply your knowledge, sharpen your skills or pick up new ones. The experience you gain in a real work setting and the connections you make are key to furthering your career path. This is why professors and advisers recommend that students have two internships under their belts during their undergrad years, and I agree.
I know it may sound like a lot to handle, especially when juggling this with many other responsibilities outside of school. Despite this, it is crucial that we make the time to actively pursue real-world experience in our fields. Summer and winter break can be great times to pull off a short internship. During semesters, many majors provide an internship course, which means you can complete an internship and receive course credit for it.
I did an internship last semester, and although it was not directly related to my career goal, I was able to use the work experience to sharpen my interpersonal and leadership abilities. I learned how to use applications I had never heard of and met people who have continued to stimulate my growth even after I completed the internship.
I know searching for internships, writing résumés and cover letters, submitting applications, and going through the interview process might sound like a nightmare. For many, it is something completely new. However, I’d like to remind you that you are not alone in this. UIC’s Office of Career Services, which is located inside the Student Services Building, can help students with the internship application process. You can schedule an appointment or learn about the workshops they offer online.
Remember, completing internships is something you will thank yourself for later, especially when handing your résumé to an employer.
Michelle García De La Vega is a senior double majoring in communications and Spanish. Among the things she loves doing most are drinking coffee and laughing. The moments she appreciates most in life involve family, friends, music, warm weather and experiential learning. Her goal is to travel someplace new every year and she aspires to one day be a conduit of news for her community.