An intern is often regarded as the scapegoat, the coffee fetcher, the immature, quiet employee blamed for every failure and given limited responsibility. In many businesses today, this is not the case for interns. Interns are given hands-on projects and assignments that require a lot of time, energy and thought. No thanks to popular belief, there are many underrated perks to being an intern in today's world and I am deeply excited about all of them.
I'll become more humble.
Quickly, I’ll be forced to realize that I'm not just going to graduate and make all the money I want and have all the perks I’ve been dreaming about. Sadly, I’ll have to work my way up. Having an internship is a friendly reminder that you have the ability to land your dream job, but you have to start somewhere. Being able to finish an entire Netflix series in a week no longer counts as a major accomplishment. I’ll be able to set realistic goals for myself that in turn carves a deeper path for my career.
Getting to meet cool co-workers.
The connections I’ll make at my internship are equally as important as what I’ll learn on the job. People love to give professional advice if you ask them. Many internships lead to full-time job offers so getting along and making a good impression with co-workers is a must. Even if the company isn’t a great fit, maybe the boss’s wife’s sister is the Vice President of a company I’ve always dreamed of working for. You never know. Moral of the story: don’t burn bridges just because you think you won’t need to use them again.
Getting to wear “adult clothes.”
Ann Taylor. LOFT. J.Crew. Nordstrom. Ok, so you've landed a great internship at a fantastic company. What better reason to spend a small fortune a stunning, new, professional, wardrobe? It’s like dress up for your 20-year-old self. Something about new business clothes makes women feel like they can conquer the world. Suddenly you're drinking black coffee and reading the Wall Street Journal daily, all thanks to your new navy pantsuit.
Free food. All the time.
People have birthdays. People want to celebrate those birthdays by bringing in an amazing chocolate cake from the best bakery in the city. Make friends with these people so you get chocolate cake almost once a week. Oh and don’t forget about free coffee, catered lunch meetings, snack carts, and pointless holiday celebrations. It has been proven that free food in the office is a major key to happy workers, so eat up.
Getting to learn way more than you ever could from a textbook or PowerPoint.
Nothing pisses me off more than sitting in a 9 a.m. lecture listening to my seventy-year-old professor rant about GDP and inflation. Seriously, how am I supposed to do anything other than creep on my middle school crush on Facebook foolish quizzes to figure out what pizza topping I would be the whole class? You can’t learn that way. Gaining hands-on experience in your field is way more important than regurgitating the steps in the marketing purchase decision process. An internship will teach me how businesses operate and how to give consumers what they want.
Figuring out what I want and 'don't' want to do with my future.
Whether after my internship I reassure myself that I chose the right major or have a mini meltdown realizing I don’t love what you are doing, at least, I’m figuring it out now and not when I’m thirty. Life is too short to hate what you do 40 plus hours a week. Having an internship will give me a nice taste of the real world while still being able to enjoy the freedom that college brings for a little while longer (aka eating leftover pizza and binge watching "Gossip Girl" until 3 a.m.).