Something that has been bothering me throughout highschool and college is the idea of internships. Don’t get me wrong, internships are a wonderful wonderful thing. It gives students real world application to the almost purely conceptual learning they do in school. Rarely do you get a project in school that makes sense in a real environment. This means that internships help to provide the necessary balance between the two to give a truly “well rounded” individual a beautiful set of opportunities upon graduation.

But there is a problem with this. Since the student working the internship must be able to jump into a real environment, it takes some training to get the individual up to speed with the things they will be accomplishing in a few short months, typically over a summer. Training like this takes some time. A business has a defined path which they work in and that needs to be conveyed to the student (or any new hire really). The short amount of time an internship lasts never really lets the student become a fully functional employee because there is so much to take in for them. They have little experience in this area (since they are there to learn it) but then they are given useless mundane projects to work on because they are learning.

This conflicts with what businesses want to hire upon graduation. They expect the level of quality upon graduation to be much higher in the past, but this cannot be taught in school. We end up with a problem where internships don’t teach as much as necessary, school isn’t capable of teaching real world experience, and business are having higher expectations on recent graduate capabilities.

How many work projects on their free time? There are a couple. How many peers even have public repositories on Github or something like that? Very few. How many work projects on their free time? Few How many of my peers have truly shipped and support a product of their own? Extremely few.

But this is the experience businesses are looking for. You think college experience and internships are what are really going to get you a great job out of college? Think again.

Build something cool on your own, develop it, ship it, support it. This shows a level of initiative on your own that so few students have anymore. Sure an internship may show an interviewer something, and it certainly gives you some experience to talk to them about but in the end, it’s something that is becoming a standard part of school. Everyone has internships. Think about the first thing someone will say when you talk about getting an internship: Getting coffee and filing papers for people all day. That’s pretty accurate for most people. They have an “internship” but is it really good experience? Hardly.

Think outside of conventional thinking. Challenge what people tell you. If you want to live an interesting life you can’t sit there and constantly follow what society wants you to think and do. Make a name for yourself, be inspired, and go change the world.

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