As a team, we felt compelled to attempt to use this blog and our year’s experiences to redefine the term ‘intern‘ and reveal, from our viewpoint, what being an intern truly is.
America, Australia, and Europe all utilise internships, viewing them as further training and a bridge between higher education and the workplace. But, where does England fit in? There seems to be a negative stereotype attributed to interns and thus internships; a sense that it is a step backwards, something undesirable conjuring images of endless rounds of making tea and piles of paperwork – all the jobs no-one else wants.
Luckily, in our experience, an internship is not like that at all; I have made no tea so far and haven’t been chained to my desk, every day brings new opportunities.
Having said that, as I am older than the stereotypical “intern” I have found this a bit of a challenge at times, with people presuming I am a much more recent graduate with very little life/work experience. The other assumption that keeps cropping up is that I am a graduate of Lincoln. This is, therefore, another myth our team aim to dispel, The Outreach members are all of different ages, with a variety of experiences ambitions and aims. We hope, to encourage people to think differently and consider their own understanding when encountering an intern role. With so many people unemployed, it is a great way to get back on the career ladder and maybe try something new.
I do, however, understand the assumptions as I too held similar views before my brief glimpse of unemployment and obviously my recent experiences as an employee of the University. Now, an internship will always represent, for me, a change in career, a chance to develop and learn new skills whilst re-evaluating what I am most suited to long-term. I hope that this stepping stone will enhance my career prospects and know it will greatly expand my skill base as well as gradually rebuild my self-confidence.
I believe internships should be viewed as alternate ways to progress beyond academia whilst earning some money and gaining a secure footing on the career ladder.
I know that due to the current economic climate I am very lucky to get a paid, full-time position anywhere especially when attempting to make such a radical career change. Having said that, in all honesty, this is definitely not the path I saw myself taking after leaving University. Everyone has an idea of where they hope their life will lead them but I’m coming to realise those dreams often change. This isn’t always a bad thing, however, as new paths mean new opportunities— often ones you’ve never even considered or imagined yourself doing and, sometimes, you even find you’re good at it! More importantly that you enjoy it.
I think the most interesting people are those who have experienced a lot in life and are willing to take chances even if it means battling negative stereotypes and starting from the bottom. I am usually someone who plays it safe and plans ahead but I have learnt since graduating that actually life can be more interesting and less disappointing if you try to just go with the flow!!!