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The Power of a Free Job: The Real Purpose of an Internship

Internships are the most underrated jobs in the working world. They help build connections, provide practice for a career, and can even lead to opportunities of acquiring a position with the same company or one similar. Internship positions are anything but glamorous and are blanketed with certain stereotypes: the “coffee” person, the “copy machine” person, and the “do everything someone does not want to do” person. Add the fact that most internships are not paid positions into the mix and it can be tempting to write-off these opportunities as a waste of time and energy.

However, internships provide a key element when entering the real world: experience! Nearly every company wants applicants that are seasoned with knowledge and are diverse in abilities.

Internships are usually discovered and utilized by college students in their junior or senior years. As the job market becomes more competitive, however, this time frame is much too late. In order to truly set a resume or application apart from thousands of others, multiple internships or jobs are required. As soon as someone is old enough to work, they are old enough to have an internship. Money is indeed important and working at a restaurant or retail provides valuable knowledge of how the “real world” functions, but an internship can jumpstart career dreams faster than ever imagined. Working closely in a corporate arena gives you hands-on education of business expectations, typical job environments and average working schedules. The sooner you become competitive, the better chance you have of winning the job you want.

I was as skeptical as most are about internships. I was looking for a regular job like most of my friends in high school; minimum wage is quite tempting compared to no wage. After giving it much thought however, I realized I wanted to take the risk. When applying for my internship, I was absolutely terrified. I felt overwhelmed creating a perfect resume, practicing interview answers, and even deciding the best outfit to wear for the interview. After working with Lexington Anchor now for five months I realize that it was the best decision I made my senior year. I have learned more about journalism, technology, social media and above all, networking. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many incredible people and learning more about Lexington and the greater Columbia area. As I prepare to start the University of South Carolina in the fall, I have a better understanding of who I am and what I want to do with my future career- all because of my internship. The bottom line is, there is power in a free job.

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