Young as I am, I am fortunate enough to be able to intern in a crime laboratory right after finishing my first year in college. In the Philippines, it isn’t common to intern so early on but in the United States, more people my age intern or volunteer for the experience.
So, what’s my advice to teens? Intern when you can but at the right time. What I mean is, don’t intern too early when you could be enjoying your youth but don’t wait it out till the last minute to try. I think immersing yourself in an work environment really opens your eyes as to what you want to do for the rest of your life. It helps you gauge whether or not something really is for you.
If you intern last minute you might apply for a career choice that is not for you. At the same time, it’s harder to get good quality jobs with little experience. When an opportunity presents itself in front of you, take it. You can procrastinate papers, reports, and even homework but don’t try to procrastinate life.
So far, while interning, I’ve learned to really appreciate people who work, especially those working their dream job. As a forensic intern, I’ve been exposed to cases and bloody evidence and maybe a few years ago I wouldn’t be able to stomach it all but everything really is fascinating. I realize even if the work they make me do is tedious, it’s still fun. I realize I want to graduate faster and start working at places like these.
I also feel very inspired because I’ve been exposed to an environment so different from a classroom setting. I see where some of the lessons I’ve learned in class is applied but I also learn new things, practical things, you aren’t necessarily trained for in university. This internship really has made me grow as a person, making me feel more independent. Also, the amount of stress is significantly less than the amount I felt during class. Everything you do is the application of theory and knowledge which is a lot more fun than sitting for hours listening to your professor.
I think the one thing I appreciate most in my internship is the fact that everyone treats you as an equal. They treat you like one of your own which made me feel like I was part of the team. Though, I’m not saying all internships will feel like this but maybe if you’re lucky enough you can have a similar experience to me.
All in all, my experience has been great so far. Working with professionals motivates you to become one as well. It’s a lot better than sitting in a classroom during a lecture and you learn a lot of practical skills. So for anyone who hasn’t interned yet, I advise you to do so. Always take any opportunity that presents itself.