As college students, you've probably heard the term "internship" get thrown around a lot. Professors and parents are always harping on the idea that you need internships to succeed. To be honest, for a long time I thought it was a myth. Internships seemed like a lot of work for just a part-time job. Then I got an internship.

This past summer, I interned as a journalist for my local news company and got to interview people in my community and write articles for local newspapers as well as for a college magazine. My experience as an intern really did help shape what I want for my future.

It far exceeded my expectations and gave me more insight into my future than I thought it would. It's not a waste of time.

Internships, paid or unpaid, give you a sample of what making a living in a certain career is really like. Whether you love it or hate it, it is only for a limited time, giving you a glimpse of what your life might be like if you pursued that career.

Also, an internship can give your resume a boost, as it gives you experience in a given field which will give you a leg up when applying for a job after graduation. Internships show that you take your job and your work life seriously. That stands out.

Many of my friends also participated in internship programs this summer, and the general consensus was that it's a lot of work. But, hey, at least we know what to expect when we get out of college, right? We have a better understanding of the real working world and all that it entails while also pumping up our resume.

In high school, our future plans consisted of picking a college and choosing a major. At the time, that seemed like the most important decision of my life. Now, as I'm approaching my final year of college, picking the right career path seems like the biggest decision.

Doing an internship this summer helped me to realize what career paths I might be a better fit for, and helped narrow my choices down from any career out there to about ten to fifteen options. It's still a lot, I know, but it's definitely more manageable.

I have to remind myself again and again that anyone has the ability to change their career at any time. It might not be particularly convenient, but it's always possible. So, if I make a "mistake" and end up in a job I hate, it's not the end of the world. I can always step back and try again at something else. Nothing is final.

So to any college student wondering whether or not they should pursue an internship, do it! Consider a career that you are passionate about and go for it! If you can't find any internship listings online, email a company in your desired field and ask. Showing that kind of initiative stands out and can make an incredible impression and can turn you into just the person they've been looking for.