Internships can be beneficial for students’ career development. While some programs at Teachers College require students to get an internship, often it is up to the individual whether or not they want to pursue one. We spoke to two current students about the importance of internships and how they helped them focus on what they want to do in their careers.
“Internships are a student’s chance to gain experience in the field that they are interested in and provide them with first-hand experience,” Rian Maxwell-Williams, a second-year Clinical Psychology student, says.“Internships provide a space for students to not only gain practical skills but also to learn more about themselves and the career path they’ve chosen.” She also made mentors. “I’ve made several connections with professionals in the field of psychology/counseling during internships who have become mentors to me and helped me to reach my personal career goals.”
Working in an internship can often help students determine what they want to do after graduation—whether it helps to solidify their field of work or the sector within their area.
First-year Higher and Postsecondary Education student Wendy Wu’s experience as an intern at her undergrad institution led her to pursue her degree at TC. She interned with the Undergraduate Undeclared Advising Office at the University of California, Irvine. “I joined the internship when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation. After getting the opportunity to try out all the different tasks and fulfill the expectations of what a college advisor does, I knew I wanted to continue working on the administrative side of higher education institutions and help students navigate their college experience,” she says. Working with everyone in the Advising Office at UC Irvine helped Wu learn about different positions in the office and helped her decide on the next steps in her career. “I think it is important to gain exposure working in a field you are interested in before fully committing to it because there is a possibility that the experience may be very different from what you expect.”
Overall, students can gain valuable insights from internships, including network opportunities, practical experience, and the opportunity to explore a variety of career paths.