A word that we’ve all heard many times. A word that when mentioned in an interview, we almost shudder as if it’s become the bane of our existence. Companies always say that experience is important. I’m willing to go so far as to say that it’s even preferred; an unspoken prerequisite to getting your foot through the door and landing that desired position. I too, like many of you, am a student; moments away from finishing my Undergraduate degree and eager to gain as much experience as possible.
It’s tough. I get it, how could we ever balance a workload and our studies, let alone gain experience in an internship without overworking ourselves? Don’t get me wrong, it IS possible… and I know people who have done it. Although, the question that’s often asked is, “Can I Do it?”.
From my own personal experience, it was impossible. I couldn’t juggle work, my studies as well as my quest for gaining relevant experience as there just weren’t enough days in the week to allow me to do so. So, I made the difficult decision to sacrifice an income in place of an unpaid internship. This decision was not easy for me to make, long gone were the days of frivolous spending on fast food and treats. Instead, it resulted in strict budgeting and limited expenses. All in the name of experience.
The issue commonly shared by most students isn’t securing an internship, but rather securing the right one. As students, we want to learn as much as possible in order to better equip ourselves with artillery for when we walk through those doors for an interview. I’ve heard many stories from friends of mine that secured an unpaid internship, only for them to be running irrelevant errands and fetching coffee. These type of experiences, are NOT what you want. As students, we must understand our value, just because we don’t have 15 years of experience under our belts, it does not negate our usefulness. Doe-eyed and akin to a sponge, when placed in the right environment, we will soak up any information and prove our true usefulness when given proper guidance.
I’ve been fortunate enough to secure internships in places where I have been able to learn; whether that be general business acumen or even specifics that are relevant toward my degree. Throughout these experiences, I have learned the two important aspects to a successful and fruitful experience:
- Having an onsite supervisor to guide you through every bit of the process.
- Having enough responsibilities.
During my first internship experience, I lacked the aforementioned due to reasons beyond my control. I found myself sitting at my desk waiting for tasks, in certain situations even waiting for hours on end. There were times where I had questioned the usefulness of the internship, going so far to regretting even leaving my job for such an unpaid experience. Despite these feelings, however, I did pick up and learn certain aspects of the business as well as certain aspects of my field. Unfortunately, where my previous internship fell short, it was more so to do with the lack of experiential optimization for a learning student such as myself. It was not until I moved on that I finally experienced what I genuinely needed.
Here at Bookipi, I’ve been lucky enough to experience both aspects. I truly believe that the biggest downfall to productivity is micromanagement. With the constant watching over one’s shoulder, there just isn’t enough room for any natural development or growth. With the freedom of responsibility and the ability to experience multiple aspects of the business, particularly due to Bookipi’s start-up nature. I am learning and experiencing so much more than I had originally anticipated.
My greatest joy is the transition from simply learning about various aspects of marketing in boring lecture halls to actually putting that information and theory to use in brainstorming sessions or discussions, particularly in relation to conversations that consist of the planning for marketing collateral or a certain customer approach.
I can proudly say that Bookipi has been the perfect environment to foster my own personal growth. With very trustworthy and understanding managers, my experience has been nothing but positive. I am absolutely certain that after my tenure ends here at Bookipi, I will be more than equipped to tackle any future interviews. Not only have I learned so much about marketing as a result of my daily activities, but I have also gained more than enough experience to show any future employers what I am truly capable of.
If I’m to be completely honest, there could not have been a better place to learn as a student.