Internships offer students the opportunity to put the skills they learn in their classes at Gustavus to use. On March 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Career Center will be holding an internship fair, aimed at connecting students with employers looking for interns.
“It’s a good opportunity for students to actually get face-to-face with the employers. There are a lot of internships you can apply for with your resume and cover letter, but to have that opportunity to talk to the employer one-on-one is an advantage for students,” Interim Internship Coordinator Corrie Odland said.
The Internship Fair is one just of many ways to get an internship. Senior Communication Studies Major Lacey Squier landed two internships, in the Dean of Students Office and at the Student Activities Office, simply by talking with people she knows. In both cases, she was able to work on a special project that she helped create.
“Ask people if they could make an internship for you. Just because they don’t have a space available, just because they don’t have one created doesn’t mean you couldn’t work one out,” Squier said.
Many students who have completed internships suggest that talking with people in areas of career interest is important.
Senior Communication Studies Major Nadvia Davis emphasized the importance of networking in landing her internships at the New York Historical Society and in the Admissions Office.
“Networking, that’s a really difficult word to get around. I think some people think networking [is] just talking to the CEO of a Fortune 500 [company]. No. It’s getting your foot in the door in the little places first,” Davis said.
“My work-study job is in admissions phoning, so that helped get me jump-started [in Admissions],” Davis said.
For other students, the task of finding an internship is less difficult. Junior Music and Communication Studies Major Chris Duhaime is an intern in Marketing and Communications.
“I have [done] a lot of [social media] work with [the] Campus Activities Board. Through that, [Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communication] Stacia [Vogel] saw what I was doing and liked what I was doing, and basically [she] offered me the position. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t apply for it. Someone approached me saying ‘this is great stuff, can you help us out,’” Duhaime said.
Duhaime emphasizes the importance of finding an area you are interested in and becoming knowledgeable in that field.
“Find what you love to do and do it. I love social media and read about it on my own,” Duhaime said.
No matter how students find an internship, the Career Center can help students discover what area to apply in and what tools they need to apply.
“It can be overwhelming. We can help with resumes, cover letters [and] interview techniques. All of [the] tools that you need when you are looking for a job [are] also need[ed] when looking for an internship,” Odland said.
Odland said that the Career Center website has a wealth of resources, including GustieJobs—job postings just for Gustavus students, which can be helpful when looking for an internship.
For students who have completed internships, both on and off campus, the experience has been valuable.
“I was an AmeriCorps Vista [and] was placed in Itasca County with Habitat for Humanity building homes for three single moms. It was truly life changing, because I worked with families who were low income who lived in substandard housing already. I was privileged growing up. The people receiving these homes made me realize how privileged I am,” Senior Communication Studies Major Michelle Tanner said.
For some students, an internship can show them which areas they may not want to work in. Senior Communication Studies Major Emma Strand interned at KEYC-TV. “I think that what I learned from that experience is that I maybe [don’t] want to go into news. It was a lot of fun and it was great working with people, but it was so fast paced, and it was kind of a lot of pressure to get an assignment at the beginning of the day and then have to have it packaged up into a story by the end of the day,” Strand said.
“One of the big things I learned is that it’s OK to not be good at everything. I don’t like admitting when I’m not good at something. I think I did a good job, and I tried my best. I sat back and thought, ‘I’m not sure I’m right for this,’ and it’s OK,” Strand said.
“Even if you have an experience where you realize that it is not a career fit for you, it’s still a successful internship, because you have figured that out now,” Odland said.
Strand had different feelings following another internship.
“When I worked at Make-A-Wish [Foundation], I loved it. I loved the people I got to work with, the kind of work I got to do and I felt like I was making a difference for other people, but also making a big difference for myself,” Strand said.
“Internships are really like the first job. That experience is so important,” Odland said.