I don't know about you, but I faced enormous pressure this past spring to secure an internship for this summer. Not just from myself, but from my peers, parents, and professors. I felt that if I wasn't accepted to any of the positions I applied for, I would be seen as a failure. If you're reading this, I'm guessing you did too at some point.
And, you guessed it, I wasn't offered a position to any of the internships I applied for all over the country.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a completely failed venture. I received multiple opportunities to interview over the phone and in person, which I thankfully accepted. My Career Services adviser helped me tremendously - she knew how hard of a time I was having, and sent me as many internship postings she could find and suggested where I might find more online that would interest me.
But despite all my efforts, I considered myself lucky if I even received a rejection email. I never heard back from more than half of the businesses I applied to. That was probably the most frustrating aspect of the whole process. I spent hours filling out application after application, tailoring sample essays, resumes, and cover letters to each internship posting - sometimes starting from scratch. The least these companies could do was send an automated rejection email to the applicants they did not hire. For all the work I put into this process, I received close to nothing from it.
I don't mean to sound like an ungrateful, whiny college student. This experience taught me a lot about the application process, which will undoubtedly help me when I apply to jobs in the future.
However, I still desperately needed to make money and gain some work experience over the summer. I returned home and began applying to local part-time jobs, one of which was to write for The Odyssey Online - obviously a successful endeavor. But yet again, I received no word from the small, local businesses I applied to.
That is, until I was fortunate enough to apply and interview in person on the same day at a local country club - they hired me on the spot. I was ecstatic. I had finally found work for the summer! But at the same time, I thought it was so ironic how after the countless applications and interview processes I went through for both internships and part-time jobs, it took less than 45 minutes to secure work this summer. I suppose that's how it all works, but come on.
Despite not securing an internship this summer, I believe I am still gaining valuable experience working part-time at a country club. The stigma that a summer internship is "better" than a part-time summer job baffles me. Maybe I'm not sitting in an office cubicle, wearing uncomfortable clothes, and getting paid next to nothing (if anything at all) for the so-called coveted internship experience. But I am gaining the same, if not better, work experience. That's because I am interacting with people constantly - customers, co-workers, bosses, etc. I am solving problems on the spot on a daily basis. I am performing well under difficult pressure situations. These are just some of the same things one would (supposedly) do in an internship. So why does performing the same tasks and calling it an internship suddenly make it better than a part-time summer job? At the end of the day, it's the same thing - experience. And that counts for something no matter what you call it.