Is it a good idea to intern as a college freshman? The short answer is yes, it is a good idea. However, it is important to have a good reason for interning. If your interning experience will help you in your future career, it is an absolute given that you should intern.
Even if you are interning to gain experience in a certain field – any field – it may be worth it for the sake of being able to have a great recommendation letter when you leave. The truth of the matter is that interning is a great way to find out what you want to do in life. Here are some reasons why interning is a good idea.
Gain a lot of Experience
In your first year of college, it is important to not only have collegiate experience; you also want career experience. When you graduate, you could apply this experience to an actual job, which is hugely beneficial when many of your peers only have academic knowledge to apply to a job.
Make a lot of Connections
During your first year of college, you may feel like you need to have some extra spending cash, but it is almost more important to meet and make connections. These connections could help you land a great job after you graduate and will be worth more than a paycheck. However, you will need to work hard. An internship requires some serious effort and you may be doing grunt work and running a lot of errands until you can start doing some real work.
Increase Real World Knowledge
Experience is one thing, but real-world knowledge is an entirely different thing. Just like connections are worth a lot, so is real world experience. There is nothing like being able to work in the actual industry you are interested in. If you are taking one of UIC’s nursing informatics programs, an internship may allow you to work in an actual hospital, with actual patients and nurses. When you graduate, you will be able to apply this real world knowledge to your career pursuits.
Broaden Your Horizons
Another benefit of interning is that it will broaden your horizons. For instance, you may go into an internship with the idea that you want to be a photographer one day, but you may realize that you want to be a creative director instead. Instead of finding out you want to be a creative director and making a big career change, it will help to make this decision in college.
Keep Yourself Busy
On top of everything, an internship will keep you busy. Sure, you may already be busy with classes, but during that downtime, you want to keep the momentum going. When you intern, there won’t be a lot of time to slow down, so you want to be ready for a wild ride. This is especially the case if you intern at a law firm or a hospital.