How many times in your college career have you heard the words, “You need to do an internship”?
I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I heard that phrase. Most of the time I would shrug them off. I work full-time and go to school, I can’t just quit and jump into a temporary job that may or may not pay.
However, as I approached my senior year at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, I finally started to look into internships. My decision was solidified when I spoke to my advisor, who told me it is difficult to get into the HR field with no HR-related experience. So I searched and searched for the perfect internship and applied at Milliner & Associates. I was thrilled when I landed the internship, and couldn’t wait to start.
This is only my third week and I feel like I have learned so much about myself and HR in general. It amazes me how much more I learn each day. I like to think I know myself pretty well, but every week I am learning even more. I know I’m a perfectionist, but I also didn’t realize how inefficient it can make me. I have been trying so hard to do as well here as I do in school, without realizing that I’ve been trying to do well in the same way, when it’s a different situation.
At school, I have projects and assignments that have strict guidelines and due dates. The ultimate goal is to finish them by the due date, follow the guidelines, get an “A” and move on. The difference is that here, the goal isn’t to just get everything done as fast as possible and get a good grade. The ultimate goal is to learn. Learn more about HR, but also about how I work, what I am interested in, where I struggle and what I do well. It’s not about completing assignments and getting an “A” because I followed the guidelines. It’s about making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, setting priorities, getting a better understanding of myself and connecting to the work I do.
That’s what makes an internship different, I think. The goal isn’t just to meet deadlines and get everything on your desk done. The idea is to get a taste of the HR field – to learn what aspects you like and don’t like. The ultimate goal is to learn, not to make a grade. It’s about so much more than just getting assignments done and moving on.
If you have the chance to do an internship, take it. Soak up everything you can, and remember to look at the bigger picture, because what you learn here can help point you in the direction of where you want to go.