Opportunity, or free labor: Finding an internship

A younger me would have been bored and uninterested by a long list of prospective intern opportunities on career hub. However, the third year me is quite different. I now get an excited pit in my stomach from prospective internships and job opportunities and am eager to learn and use the skills my degree has taught me. I am starting my third year at university and no matter what year you are in looking for some work experience never hurts. 

One thing I have learnt from my parents is that work is important. There seems to be a common assumption that 'work sucks the life out of you' and your 'existence revolves around it' into a meaningless void. I have learnt something different. For some, work can certainly be tiring tough and not in the field they're interested in or passionate about. Additionally, all work is not created equally. However, work helps everyone find meaning, purpose and most importantly... make money. For me, work is about finding a meaningful way to contribute to something I'm interested in.

Internships have also been viewed as a somewhat controversial avenue for skill acquisition. Free labor in return for a learning experience and networking. Personally, I can certainly understand where this view has come from with some internships even asking for payment to undertake them. There is a fine line between learning and engaging in a professional environment and undertaking work for free. In this sense, I need to be careful about what the commitment involves, if the work I am doing is reasonable, if it is benefiting me and most importantly ask myself, am I enjoying it? 

So, as I set out on my journey looking for organisations and companies to learn from I am also making sure that I am aware of what my rights are, my expectations and my goals. If university has taken this time to educate and skill me, I am sure it will support me into the next phase of my career journey. 

These words of wisdom were brought to you from an undergraduate who has not entered the fulltime work force.  

Tagged in Study matters, What messes with your head