Students should apply for internships before graduating

Applying skills learned in school toward future career is unmatched preparation for working after college



Students work tirelessly in college to prepare themselves for future careers. Internships would help them reach that goal.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen managing editor

College students are often lacking on-the-job experience many employers look for in applicants. With so much emphasis on building your resume and staying involved while in school, it can feel like there is never enough time to do it all.

Expecting full-time students to obtain years’ experience in any career is a tough ask.

However, the middle ground of short-term, real-world experience is a fair request. And a summer internship is more easily secured than a full-time job.

The experience gained in an internship is incredibly useful — whether to help students decide if a career path is the right choice, or to add helpful experience for their future.

Madee Butcher, senior hospitality business major, agrees that internships are a particularly helpful educational tool. She is interning at Saltwater Farm in the San Juan Islands.

“I selected [my] internship because it’s kind of like what I have envisioned for my future,” she said.

Ava Pearson, senior viticulture and enology major, is using her internship at Lindsay Creek Vineyards to determine what aspect of her major she is interested in. With a major in viticulture and enology, Pearson could go into catering, work for a tasting room or even be a part of making wine.

This internship has given her the opportunity to see different sides of most of these options — something she would not have been able to experience without it.

“It’s nice to actually see [what I have been learning about] in person and then recognize all the things that I am learning and be able to apply it in real life,” Pearson said.

Choosing the best internship is all based on what you want to get out of it. In Butcher’s case, a future of owning a bed-and-breakfast lines up perfectly with an internship at a small, locally-owned wedding venue in the San Juan Islands.

Experience in the workplace also means making connections.

“I chose to work here over a large corporation because I think that I will have much more time with the owners,” she said. “We’ll be able to learn on a more intricate level than I would have at a huge resort.”

The dreaded aspect of applying for jobs is the interview process. But without that time speaking directly with the businesses, you would not have the knowledge to compare and contrast workspaces and what experience you might glean from working there.

“Hospitality, in general, is about pleasing people and making their experience really grand,” Butcher said. “That comes from doing hard, unnoticed work behind the scenes.”

Without the experience of this internship, Butcher would have no frame of reference for the kind of work that goes into event planning.

“That’s the cool part of this job,” Butcher said. “I feel like I am learning things from a staff perspective.”

Ultimately, this is the most influential aspect of internships. Without on-the-job experience in college, students are not seeing the scope of their future careers.

This puts students and businesses at a huge disadvantage. Businesses of all sizes should be providing these opportunities for students, and all students should be taking the initiative to get them.