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Ashley Hager is a fall intern with Milliner & Associates, a staffing and recruiting agency for accounting, finance, HR and administrative employment positions.

Ashley Hager

What thoughts come to mind when you think about the word “internship”?

Are they positive, negative or somewhere in between? I never really had an opinion about them. My professors kept saying how important they were, but I just couldn’t see the value at the time. Now, I’m disappointed I waited until my senior year to even start applying for an internship, but there’s no point in regretting the past. I can only change the future.

I started applying for internships knowing that they were extremely important and that I needed one to put on my résumé. I knew I would gain experience and knowledge, but I had no idea to what extent. My time here at Milliner & Associates is unlike anything I could have imagined. It’s not just the experience that’s great, it’s the people here as well. They all want to see me learn, grow and become the professional businesswoman I am supposed to be. It sounds cliché, I know, but it’s very true and very important.

One thing that couldn’t have turned out any better is the fact that I am taking a Human Resource Selection class concurrently with my internship. Classroom learning offers a broad look at topics, typically presented in black and white. The real world, however, is filled with gray and uncertainty. It can be hard to apply what you are learning in the classroom sometimes because book knowledge can’t account for everything you will run into. In an internship, you experience the gray and you learn how to work through it.

Being an intern, to me, means it’s okay to learn from mistakes, it’s okay to ask questions, it’s okay be confused sometimes. Being an intern means I have a mentor to guide me. My mentor is someone who is telling me the hard truth about myself to help me grow as an individual and as a professional.

You will never fully understand just how important, valuable, exciting and amazing an internship is until you have one yourself. I could talk all day about how important internships are – everything you learn about a particular career and about yourself, how much you grow professionally and individually – but I won’t do it. Instead, I challenge you to go find out for yourself.

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