The Power of Internships

Garrett Webber, Reporter

College students across the world get to pursue their dreams by developing skills and knowledge at the universities they attend. These universities provide numerous professional and social opportunities for young people in an extremely exciting time in their life. One of these opportunities is the chance to participate in an internship. Many degrees require students to have at least one internship or have a certain number of hours of performance to receive certifications. For students in fields which do not require internships, participating in one is still a great idea. This is because internships bring many different benefits. 

Applying Knowledge. The classroom for college students is what a practice gym is for basketball players. Developing skills of dribbling, passing, and shooting is done through practice, in preparation for games. For a college student, the game is the industry they are entering. Internships offer an opportunity for students to put their practice to work in a real-world setting with consequences and rewards. Additionally, internships are a wonderful way for students to sharpen their skills and realize personal strengths and weaknesses to think about before entering the workforce. 

Networking. One saying that has stood the test of time is, “it is not what you know, it is who you know.” Internships give students the opportunity to build contacts in their field who can assist them in career growth. The more connections, the better, and starting to network in college is advantageous for students. Networking brings the opportunity to begin building a reputation in your industry. These relationships help students assemble a support system as they enter the work force, as well. Mentors can offer guidance, motivation, and assistance in career planning.  

Industry Exposure. There are an infinite number of routes a young person can choose to take in their life, and there are different colleges and universities that offer ways to make those routes possible. For example, UND offers over 225 on-campus and online degree programs. Also, the national average of students who decide to change their major is around 75%. Changing majors is extremely common and marks an important checkpoint in millions of students’ careers across the country. An internship shows a student what their life will be like for the foreseeable future if they continue their path. Internships can not only help develop skills for a student, but they can be a type of trial run. Internships provide clarity for whether the field a student is entering is a good fit for them, on a skill and fulfillness level. The experience gained from an internship will guide a student as they continue their path through college. 

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to participate in an internship this past fall. I attended a networking event for bonus points in a class I was taking, and I met several business owners in the Grand Forks area. One of these interactions grew into a marketing internship with All Embracing Home Care that lasted for three months. This internship was the most beneficial experience that I have had at the University of North Dakota. My internship gave me the opportunity to grow professionally through experiential learning and will positively impact my career path. I learned more and met more amazing people than I could have ever imagined. Internships provide students a chance to apply the knowledge they have developed in the classroom, network, and gain exposure to the industry they are entering. Co-ops and internships are available to UND students through UND career services. I recommend that all students pursue some form of internship. 


Garrett Webber is a Dakota Student General Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]