Finding the bright side of a rough internship

The Google search “why you shouldn’t have an internship” yields over 1.7 million results. On top of that, there are editorials written by former students published in news outlets like Forbes and USA Today on why they regret their internships.

Yet many majors require one, and colleges around the country will vouch for the importance of an internship. Even the bad internships must have some good qualities if they are worth it, right?

The answer is yes. Even the worst internships have takeaways that are valuable.

Learn to be positive

            Not every internship is full of rainbows and butterflies-some are hard or less than enjoyable. Every day at a real job won’t be easy and fun either. Learning to roll with the punches gives any intern a taste of the real world.

            “I’ve had internships that I hated and that didn’t work out well at all,” Holly Lustig, senior studying anthropology, said. “However, those are the internships that I learned more in because I was able to figure out what I liked and didn’t like about a job. I learned how to handle negative things in a positive way, which has been so helpful.”

Figure out what doesn’t work

            There are internships made for each kind of person. Maybe the right one hasn’t shown itself yet. It’s better to figure that out now than after being given the diploma.

            “Start to get experience early,” Carol Ketelsen, a career consultant for Career Services, said. “That way you can try on different jobs to see what you like and don’t like. Don’t just get one internship during the last semester of your senior year. That happens far too often.”

            Ketelsen said that Career Services has alumni come in who don’t know what kind of job they want. Getting more than one internship during the college years fixes that problem.

Figure out what does work

            Statistically, about 60 percent of students change their major at least once while in college. Most of that population change their major three times, according to a study done at the University of La Verne in California. Work-related experience can be very helpful in figuring out a person’s interests. So don’t be afraid to take that interesting internship that has nothing to do with your major.

            “I was offered an internship for undergrad and graduate recruitment for housing. I just took it just to try something new.” Lustig said. “I liked it so much that I ended up questioning what I wanted to do with my life.”


            “Internships build relationships with the people around you,” Ketelson said. “Those people know people who can get you that job.”

            USA Today published an article last year stating that friendships and connections made during internships often result in a reference or a job offer. Making those connections can be as simple as being friendly or attending a company event.

Never deny a job that may be presented in any format, there is always something to learn from every experience. Bulking up that résumé is never a bad thing and lessons can be learned from even the worst of jobs.