Internships … Are They Worth It?

A view from a former intern

That’s the question I’ve come across since my time of being an intern. The question is often raised by individuals who usually have a misconception of what it really means to be an intern, and to be honest I also used to be counted amongst these.

My perceptions have since changed as I’ve been fortunate enough to ‘intern’ at a place where I was not only treated as an individual but also as someone who has the potential to become part of a bigger whole, fully entrenched in an organisation’s culture.

At Fleishman-Hillard, I’ve not only been able to gain valuable insights but, I’ve also had the opportunity to be part of experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. These include an impressive list led by the Nokia Lumia 800 launch to the Nike Run Jozi event right up to the Van Ryn’s 30 year old Brandy launch.

Different as they may be, they’ve all been equally valuable, worthwhile and key to my growth. And all this whilst being ‘just’ an intern.

Moreover, during my time here I’ve realised that there’s a vast difference between having a ‘varsity mentality’ and a ‘professional mentality’.

Tertiary education teaches you all the important theoretical necessities required in the corporate world, what it does not teach you however and unfortunately, are the actual tangible skills needed. And that’s where an internship comes in.

Learning (theoretically) about writing, media relations, reporting, crisis communications etc. is vastly different to experiencing these. Granted I haven’t quite grasped the full concept behind them, but I do have a solid base to work from.

Internships are a great way to gain practical experience in real world settings and I encourage all graduates to consider one as a viable option. It should be noted though that one has to be prepared to work hard and have patience.

So the question remains: Internships…are they really worth it? Well that’s up to you to decide but as for me and using my own personal experience as a reference…it would have to be a definitive yes!

Written by Thabiso Moloi

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