The word internship is typically greeted by eye-rolls and shrugs. The mental toll and pressure that accompany this exhaustive process lead to a spiral of misconceptions. We’re here to debunk internships myths and prove their value — short and long-term.
Myth #1: Internships are only worth the time if they count for academic credit.
For students who are clear about their academic pursuits and long-term goals, internships serve as a stepping stone for applying and improving “real world” skills. In addition to learning hard and soft skills, students can observe office politics first-hand, build their respective networks, and gain professional advice from peers and mentors. The benefits go beyond resume-building.
Myth#2: Interns only do beginner-level work.
False! More often than not, students take on internships with the same workload as a four-credit college class. Through collaboration and swift learning, interns can embark on pivotal projects and tasks. Don’t worry — picking up coffee for your boss or making copies won’t fill up your agenda.
Myth #3: Interns are reserved for top students
Rumor has it only the “best of the best” can apply to internships. Application processes are long and rigorous, but the ultimate factor that sets students apart is their determination. As a cycle of trial and error, internships allow room for growth. Students can re-apply or search for other opportunities and roles in a sea of options.
Myth #4:: Internships are only offered during the summer
Internships often offer year-round opportunities, with openings in spring and fall becoming flexible to college calendars and courses. An advantage for students who work in spring or fall operations is that they will run into considerably less competition from classmates when applying. Additionally, academic schedules maintain students focused and motivated throughout the length of the program.
Myth #5: Internships are hard to find
Universities dedicate loads of time and effort to provide resources for students trying to get their foot in the door. Career fairs and counseling are great places to start. Creating a personal network is also crucial; as this step begins to unfold, students will consider Linkedin their best friend.
Myth #6: Unpaid internships aren’t useful.
Everyone can agree that doing something for free is hard — soul-breaking and demotivating, really. But, sometimes, the best things in life are free! Mustering the courage and commitment to participate in unpaid internships will always be rewarded, whether that be by a job offer or personal growth. Long-term benefits outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
Myth #7: Top-notch companies offer the best internships
Similar to the debate that renowned universities are better than smaller colleges, students frequently dismiss internship opportunities for their name — or lack thereof. Realistically, though, students are more likely to develop their skills in spades if they start at a small-scale network or company. Falling into a pool of hundreds is tricky, especially as a rookie, but collaborating with few others will foster inclusion and confidence from the get-go. Moral of the story: don’t wave goodbye to an opportunity just because it’s not Facebook!
Myth #8: I didn’t land an internship this summer; consider me a failure
Yet again, false. Talented students can be rejected dozens of times — and it has nothing to do with their work ethic or worth. Companies routinely build candidate expectations before reading applications. Fitting a specific mold is impossible when you’re just trying to be yourself! The key idea here is that everyone has a chance to make their mark. If summer feels vacant, making room for portfolio building, personal projects, or volunteering can set students apart. Everything counts.