Thursday, July 1, 2010

Finding Success in "Failed" Internships, Part I

By Katelyn MJ Daniel

4 college internships, in the first 4 semesters of college, leading to 4 college major changes.

…My work history gives a whole new meaning to experiential learning.

During my senior year of high school, I filled out numerous scholarship applications, all with the same
 daunting question – What is your chosen college major?

Rather than writing ‘Undecided,’ I flipped through a few college course catalogs and picked a major that looked fun, yet serious
 (#1) Graphic Design.

By the end of my first day of college, I walked into the Registrar’s office to change my major.  Having no idea what major to ‘pick,’ I chose my strongest high school subject
 (#2) Chemistry. Although I did very well in my Chemistry classes, by the end of the semester I knew I needed to visit the Registrar again.

Luckily, if one tries to change your major twice in one year, you are required to meet with a career advisor. Aptitude tests revealed strengths in the area of Business/Communications for me, so I decided to change my major to
 (#3) Public Relations.

However, I received some valuable advice from my career advisor before I left his office that day. He suggested if I wasn’t sure what career was right for me, perhaps I should “try out” a career field by completing an internship.

Within a few weeks I began an unpaid Public Relations (PR) internship with a local sports team. Although I enjoyed working in a Business field, by the end of the internship, I knew that I wasn’t meant to work in PR. I grabbed a “Change-of-Major” form and headed to my career advisor’s office.

I was so embarrassed, as I told him, “PR is not my calling. I’m so sorry, but my internship was a failure.”  He replied without hesitation, “Internships are fail-proof…both the affirmation
 and the denial of a career choice are gifts.”

He pulled up a list of new internships and recommended that I try different business field. So, as a brand new
 (#4) Business major, I began my sophomore year with a paid internship in Inside Sales. However, by the end of the semester, I was able to cross Sales Manager off of my list of desired careers.

...To Be Continued.  

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