The Trailer Matters

Why you need to intern before you venture into the workspace.

Asking friends and seniors about internships, I heard a very different version for what I had envisioned.

“They make you do work for free!” “You are servants to corporate servants” “You don’t need many” “You don’t get paid ones!” “It’s a world of exploitation”.. and so many other not-so-positive experiences.

From the day I knew people could intern in college, I wanted to too. Money was never a problem, as I knew I needed to build my CV to face a very competitive media sphere. I did expect a stipend initially, but the certificate is something to kill for.

Internships aren’t as harsh as jobs. They are a trailer into your workspace, and employers know you are young and susceptible to making mistakes. When there is less or no money involved, you do not have much at stake- and you get a glimpse of how organisations function.

My internship at Press Trust of India

You meet new people, new students like you, and learn how to conduct yourself in a work environment. Dealing with the demons of opportunism, or opening up over opened tiffin boxes becomes easier once you intern at an organisation. The pride of telling you are trying your hand at a good place, and are eligible for better, is unmatchable - not just for you, but your parents and well wishers too!

Everytime you resume college after a month of interning, you feel a little better about yourself. Don’t hesitate to be all out there and take up the smallest, because big opportunities don’t walk at people in times of competition anymore. Sites that promise internships and jobs may be helpful — but I have always found the references of professors handy. You are screened before you join, and everyone gets a chance to prove their mettle.

I found great mentors and friends in the office space.Their recommendations can go a long way, so all the times you feel exploited will surely reap result as you register your names in the good books of higher-ups.

My favourite moments were greeting the security staff and receptionists who would recognise me after a day or two — it just felt like I was part of the gang! Smaller ventures give you more space to flourish, while bigger spaces teach you to strive for your footing and learn from your mistakes, or those of others.

So the next time if your friends or professors talk about internships — listen in, and show interest. Work from home when you can, go to office when you can, there is no vacation once you leave school, and tell everyone you are out there testing the waters for your future career. And there is no right time to start — it depends on your priorities, and it is never too early or never too late. What makes the change, is taking the plunge. Nobody will hang you for human errors in the workplace!

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Gauri Joshi

Gauri Joshi

Writer.

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