Why I encourage every college student to complete an internship

I've been an intern for less than two months and I've learned more about my major field than I previously did in three years of college classes. This got me thinking as to how that is even possible. The fact of the matter is college is teaching you to take multiple choice tests, yet upon graduation, you will probably never see another Scantron again in your life.

An internship is real life. And life teaches you how to succeed. If you have time left in your college career, I encourage you to do an internship, even unpaid, as it is worth your time far more than the pricey tuition you've been paying all along.

1. Any "skills" you've read about in a textbook, are put into practice

Sure, you can regurgitate 75 definitions from your Business management textbook, but can you use them correctly in a real-life setting?

2. You have the opportunity to discover if what you've been studying is something you actually like and can see yourself doing, before its too late

My biggest fear was spending four years of my time and money on a degree that I wouldn't like. Sure I said I wanted to go into a business field, yet how do I really know I like it? An internship gives you the feel for your field without being fully committed.

3. The network of people you are exposed to and connections that are made can land you a job post-graduation

Its all about who you know. It sucks to say but I've realized this more than ever in my short 20 years that the people who know people go way farther than ones that are equal but don't have connections.

4. You are preparing yourself for the real world

The frat party you attend each weekend, yoga pants/large t-shirt combinations, the quick texts back and forth between buddies, and crazy sleeping schedule are all habits that will need to be left in college. An internship teaches you how to dress professionally, craft a professional email, forces you to have a normal sleeping schedule, and simply teaches you to grow up — if college has not yet already done that.

5. It's simply a good use of your time

Sure, working at a smoothie shop can be fun, or you enjoy your co-workers as a cashier at the grocery store, but are those jobs benefiting and preparing you for your future career? Probably not. If you are going to be a working college student, why not spend your time in a field that you want to go into, and even gain experience along the way.