Sunday, March 22, 2009

Internships Galore!

Coming back from a boring spring break in Connecticut, I spent a lot of time with friends who are having problems getting internships for the summer. As any GW student can tell you, finding an internship for us can be pretty easy (Well, non-paying ones, at least). We have gwork, and everyone I know has had at least one class with a professor who still works in their field. It was hard for me to relate to these friends, because getting an internship DC is like going to Walmart...everything's available cheaper than it is anywhere else.

But I've started to think. Sure, they're valuable. As the Career Center website says:
* Internships are a great way to experience different work settings and explore different career fields and options and help you to develop your network, to build resumes and develop skills.
* Students pursue internships to gain practical, professional experience and to link the world of work to their academic studies.
* Successful internships are planned work experiences where the student and employer are committed to the students learning and development. Students learn by taking part in the work of the organization and observing day to day operations.
* Internships are paid or unpaid, credit or non-credit and vary in hours per week and weeks per semester.
* Students should check with their school and individual departments for more information on obtaining credit for an internship experience. All credit is granted through your dean's office.
But in a super intern-rich environment, how much are any of these experiences worth? I'm starting to discover that my internships on the hill may mean nothing outside of the beltway. Sure, I've gotten experience, but the only reason it really benefits me is that I am able to build connections...padding my resume with many different resumes doesn't seem to set me out from anyone else, does it?

One thing a lot of my friends were talking about was at their universities (Uconn, Holy Cross, Northeastern, Harvard, you know, New England schools), it's very easy to work one on one with professors with their research. I have friends who have been published because they were research assistants for professors! I wouldn't even know where to start if I wanted to do that at GW...does anyone know if it's even possible? I'm interested to hear what people have heard about this!

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