By Jennifer Hill
With a downturn in the economy and a job market that is becoming increasingly more competitive, internships are becoming a necessity for students.
“Internships are a chance to see and do what professionals do every day,” said Gerry McNulty, the Communication Internship Director at Marist.
Although the type of internship experience and the way an internship is obtained varies by major, they teach students how to act in the business world. Although college helps to prepare students for the life after school, it cannot provide students with the same experience as actually working for a company.
“College is like vanilla ice cream,” McNulty said. “Taking different classes and having different experiences here is like adding sprinkles or strawberries, but you can’t change the flavor of the ice cream until you enter the real world.”
Marist, as well as other colleges and universities are tools for preparing students on how to get a job and be a good job candidate. However, each student is in control over which type of job they get and where it will lead them.
“There comes a point when a student has to be self-reliant,” McNulty said. “The student decides where they apply and how many options they have.”
Brittany Blum, a sophomore fashion major at Marist, interned last summer at Haddad Brands in New York City. Haddad Brands owns the licensing for children’s wear for brands such as Nike, Jordan, Nike Team, Levis and Dickies.
“Working at Haddad showed me what it was like to work a nine to five job,” Blum said. “I woke up at five every morning to get ready and go on a bus. It definitely taught me time management skills.”
While it was difficult to get accustomed to a new routine, Blum said that the experience was definitely worth it.
“It was an opportunity to network with people from different companies, to learn what will make or break a deal and how to handle real life problems in the industry,” Blum said.
In an internship, it is also important for a student to remember that he or she is at the bottom of the work scale. Even if the tasks that the students are provided with are mundane, each job should be done well.
“You have to pay your dues to move up the ladder,” McNulty said.
“You can’t be picky,” Blum said. “I was very close-minded going into my internship because I wanted to be working for a bigger company, but my experience ended up being absolutely amazing.”
Geena Giaramita, a psychology and special education major at Marist, did her observation hours last semester for the third grade at Netherland Elementary School in Hyde Park.
“I thought I knew exactly what being in the classroom with third graders was going to be like,” Giaramita said. “But the teacher I observed inspired me with new ideas and techniques that I never would have thought to use.”
Another important part of the internship process is to be prepared. “Be ready for both the interview and the internship itself,” Blum said. “Dress professionally and make sure to research the company so you can answer questions and have an idea of how the company works.”
“Be on time or even early,” McNulty said. “Expect that getting an internship is a process but it will be worth it.”
For more information on finding an internship, try search engines on the Marist website.