As a college student, sometimes it feels as though we have to secure five major internships with Fortune 500 companies if we want to successfully find a job after graduation. And, instead of getting paid for our work, we actually have to pay for the valuable experience so we get the required amount of credits. Stressful, right?
I frantically searched for a summer internship the winter of my sophomore year, secretly hoping I would end up far away from Pennsylvania, in New York City or Los Angeles, interning for Dolce & Gabbana or NBC or anything in the Hearst Tower. I wanted an internship with a wow factor. I had no prior experience, no idea what to write for my cover letter and nothing notable on my resume. I got one interview, not in NYC or LA, but 20 minutes away from my hometown with a local magazine called Susquehanna Style Magazine. I was offered the internship, took it and made the best decision of my summer.
I thought I was ready to take on any internship this summer, but after a summer at a local publication, I realized how much I didn’t know about the magazine industry. I didn’t even know how to attach a flash unit to the top of a digital camera. I had (and still have) a lot to learn.
Internships provide you with experience you don’t get sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture. I got to see the office side of a public relations job and the event planning side. Instead of getting my supervisors coffee, I actually contributed ideas and articles to Susquehanna Style Magazine. Local, smaller companies put a lot of trust in their interns and treat them like actual employees. I was given multiple writing assignments over the course of my internship that actually will appear in print. I was also given the opportunity to travel around to different areas of Pennsylvania and visit places I have never been before. If you get an awesome internship around your hometown, you might just start to appreciate where you came from a little bit more.
Sure, internships are important and we should all aim for our goals and shoot for the stars. But, getting your first internship at a smaller local company is just as beneficial as starting out interning at a huge corporation. I learned so much this summer and I’m proud of my internship.
The moral of the story is not to sweat it if you don’t get an internship with a huge company right away. Starting out somewhere small and unheard of could be the best decision you ever make.