Pros & Cons of an Internship…

internship over & out copy

As the end of our internship is here we thought we’d provide a little summary of the pros and cons of being a graduate intern through our eyes. We decided to do this for a couple of reasons…

  1. Before accepting this job we all researched the pros and cons of doing an internship a lot. Therefore we wanted to add to the pile of information out there, to help other people make that decision too.

  2. It’s not all positive there are some negatives and interns need to speak out in order to stop the bad side of internships, especially as internships are a growing trend and a good way to get work experience which is hard to find.

What we’ve written is not specific to our job, it’s a general overview of pros and cons which could happen in any graduate internship, although some have been influenced by this particular job role. If we did it specific to our role it might not make a lot of sense or be relevant to interns going into completely different areas.

You might not agree with what we say and that’s fine all internships are subjective. These are our opinions from what we have experienced over the past year. Remember, you can only really know what an internship is like once you do one so if you don’t believe us why not have a go too? 

pros

  • An internship gets you hands-on work experience. This has been incredibly important as it’s really hard to get a start anywhere these days without specific experience. We couldn’t get any interviews for higher education roles before we started this internship despite all having previous work experience. Therefore getting hands-on experience has been vital.

  • As a graduate intern coming into the role with a lot of skills from your degree, you get responsibilities straight away. You’re thrown right into the deep end, which is a good way to learn.

  • You get to work on a variety of tasks and projects. This can make the job really interesting as no month is the same.

  • You get the opportunity to work with a wide range of people and departments. Therefore it gives you a great overview of the area you want to gain skills within.

  • There are lots of chances for development; developing the role and yourself. You can make sure you get the skills your CV is missing.

  • Training is fundamental to an internship, your CV will grow a lot. Plus if you do an internship in a large organisation there will be plenty of opportunities for in-house training which you’ll be encouraged to go on.

  • In this internship the stereotypical ‘you’re an intern so you will make all the hot drinks’ has not happened (*breathes a sigh of relief*).

cons

  • You often will not be thought of as an equal member of staff.

  • It can be a patronising experience. You can be an intern at any age and people seem to forget that. Plus even if you have just graduated it doesn’t make you a teenager!!!

  • If you have just graduated (or if you’re blessed with youthful looks;-)) and you go straight into an internship many people will still see you as a student.

  • The label ‘intern’ will be glued to you, it can be really hard to get your individuality out there.

  • When contacting staff who you don’t work with directly it can be hard to get responses because of the label ‘intern’. A reply can either be rare or it can come back to you with your manager copied in (that’s a really annoying one).

  • The role can be confusing due to the variety of tasks. It can be tricky to find a focus and main aim for the year.

  • As an internship is varied, projects often change and hours can be different to the regular working day. This can create a clash and some confusion when working amongst people who do the same tasks every day 9-5pm. It can create an atmosphere of ‘the interns are not doing any work’ just because your routine is not 9-5pm sitting at the same desk all day.

There have been some people along the way who got to know us, understood our job roles and saw internships as a positive step forward for University development. You can’t get the good without the bad and the cons are the bad. So, if you’re about to commence on an internship be prepared, blog about it if you need to, that’s what we did!

top tips

  1. Don’t wear your badge when meeting members of staff who don’t know you, no-one will know you’re an intern so the cons are unlikely to happen. The same can be said for not including ‘intern’ in your email sign off. 

  2. Speak out! If you think you are not being treated equally say something to your manager or to the Equality Officer, we did.

  3. Blog. We started our blog because we were fed up of some people forgetting that we were equal members of staff and individuals. Therefore we blogged about ourselves and our work to give people another opportunity to get to know us and understand our role.

  4. Meet up with other interns to share your experiences. We were lucky enough to start as a team of four, talking about the positives and negatives throughout the year really helped.

  5. Remember it’s only for a short amount of time, it’s not forever. The time will fly by and it will be over before you know it.

At the end of the year three out of four of us have gained employment. Despite all the cons this fact has made the internship completely worthwhile. Three of us have got jobs straight away in an area which we were not getting interviews for a year earlier.This is good news and you should take this into account when you’re considering doing an internship.

We feel that there is still a lot of work to be done for internships to be understood and accepted but this internship has proven a great way to kick start a career in the Higher Education Industry and gain relationships with others in similar situations.

It’s over and out for the Outreach Interns cohort 2012/2013!

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About Nicola Fletcher

Nicola graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2007. Since then she has traveled South-East Asia, studied for a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification in Vietnam, taught English in Taiwan for just over two years and explored the majority of South America by land. Nicola has recently completed a year as a graduate intern at The University of Lincoln. The internship was based in Student Support and she worked with the Funding and Advice Teams as well as the wider Student Support Department; providing advice & guidance to current and prospective students on a range of issues. Alongside her Outreach colleagues Hannah & Emma, she planned and managed the University's first ever National Student Money Week as well as setting up social media for the service. Nicola is originally from black pudding Bury, Greater Manchester. She thoroughly enjoys cooking and eating as much new food as possible. Returning home to England has made her realise that she needs to start exploring more of the UK, preferably in a bright blue VW camper-van.

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