Friday, July 2, 2010

Finding Success in "Failed" Internships, Part II

By Katelyn MJ Daniel

Continued from yesterday….

“Internships are fail-proof… both the affirmation and the denial of a career choice are gifts.”

This was my career advisor’s reply to my negative conclusion about my Public Relations internship. I took that internship in response to his direction in search of the right career path for me. The journey of finding a major that would coincide with my interests and skills has taken many turns.

I attempted and crossed off Graphic Design, Chemistry, Public Relations and Sales Manager in the first 3 semesters of college. During my sophomore spring/summer semesters, I completed two internships simultaneously – a Grant Writing Internship at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and an Accounting internship at a local manufacturing company.  One more career choice was crossed off my list:

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­My Grant Writing internship led me to realize that I have a gift and passion for technical writing. While attending Chamber events – one of the great perks of my internship –I discovered that I also have a passion for business development.  After speaking with some of our Chamber members, I found that some of our local, prominent business leaders have law degrees - but they did not practice law.

During this time, I was doing exceptionally well in my Philosophy courses – which require similar skills/abilities as law school. After several conversations with local attorneys and former law students, I realized that I had found my career match.
I went to visit my career advisor one last time. He and my parents were very relieved when I told them that I had finally found my major: PHILOSOPHY with a BUSINESS MINOR and my calling: LAW SCHOOL.

In the last two years, I became an intern-to-hire, as the full-time Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Retention Program at the Chamber. I graduated on May 1, 2010, and I am headed to law school this fall. I was able to build a strong resume because I completed multiple internships which added value on law school applications.

My internships also benefited me because now, I understand the basics of multiple departments within a company, which I believe will make me a more marketable employee, attorney, and/or business executive someday.  Also, I have established a network of business professionals in Northeast Indiana which will be priceless if the job market is less than ideal when I graduate from law school.

I highly recommend that students consider internships – especially during middle or high school – if possible. Many of my classmates didn’t complete internships until their junior and senior years of college. Some discovered they had chosen the wrong field, had taken entire semesters of unnecessary classes, and are now paying for additional semesters of school.  Both my classmates’ and my personal experiences have led me to realize, a student is NEVER too young to think about completing an internship, job shadow, etc.

If you are a student who might benefit from completing an internship, I recommend doing two things: 1) talk to your campus career advisor, and 2) register on the Indiana INTERNnet – – a statewide Web site for locating high school/college internships. 

Also, if you are a business executive who could utilize an intern in your company, please contact Kelly Arnold, Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Retention Program, at (260) 424-1435 x.241 or at

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