Internships: sink or swim

MARISSA MARARAC | Evergreen columnist

As we ready ourselves to leave the perfect preparation world known as college, we should expect success rather than failure.

Due to the economy, it has never been harder for college graduates to receive the jobs they’ve been studying for.

Many college graduates are taking low-wage or part-time positions as it becomes harder to find education-appropriate jobs, according to Bloomberg, a privately run organization that specializes in finance news. This is upsetting when one considers how hard many students work for their degrees.

Bloomberg has also stated 44 percent of Americans between the ages of 22 and 27 who have a bachelor’s or higher degrees are in jobs that do not require their levels of education.

Because the job industry is becoming harder to access, universities should require all students in every college to participate in an internship prior to graduation. Partaking in internships provides much-needed experience for students looking to excel in their careers of choice.

“The benefits of internships are undeniable,” said Judy I. Hopkins, an internship adviser at the Center for Advising and Career Development.

Hopkins recommended that students seek assistance from internship advisers in each of the colleges at WSU.

While it’s generally important to learn through textbooks and in classroom settings, these modes of education don’t prepare students for the real world.

Internships reveal to students what working in a given industry requires, but they also serve as test runs. A student might complete an internship only to realize they’re not interested or not prepared for such a career.

Career expert and professional speaker Pete Leibman hosts a blog which states that internships provide confidence and help students to overcome “fear of the unknown,.” Internships also help to improve communication skills, he said.

Other benefits include gaining employment sooner and receiving higher starting salaries.

The saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” cannot be truer when looking for a job. More than 70 percent of all jobs are filled through personal contacts and networking, Leibman said. All you need is a foot in the door and connections with the right people who can hook you up for success.

“Business, organization, and community partners all agree on one thing,” Hopkins said. “Students need hands-on learning experience to make the leap from academia to the real working world.”

A recent study showed that interns receive, on average, $2,240 more than non-interns in their starting annual salaries, according to the Brigham Young University Internship Office.

In a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers from November 2013 to January 2014, almost 97 percent of employers planned to hire interns and co-ops in 2014.

With this knowledge, college students should jump at every opportunity to land an internship, paid or otherwise.

Universities and college students need to realize that club activities and a 4.0 won’t cut it. The ability to say you’ve gained first-hand experience adds substantially to your resume and career profile.

As college students most of us work hard every day for a better future.Participating in an internship is a great way to show your hard work.

Participating in an internship is a great way to show your hard work while also gaining experience that will give you a competitive edge in the professional world.

No one wants to be the graduate flipping burgers for minimum wage.

– Marissa Mararac is a junior communication major from Tacoma. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by opinion@dailyevergreen.com. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.