Sunday, September 16, 2012

Internships Won't Come to You

I thought that I would be done thinking about the undergraduate experience. Having a younger sister who has just recently started college here in Atlanta, I have made it a priority to help her avoiding the pitfalls of the university system. 

Just the other day we were talking about internship for her political science degree. The first point that I made in our conversation was that "internships won't come to you!" "You need to go get them!" And "you need to start now".  

Folks, don't wait for your school to find you an internship. You need to be proactive. By proactive I mean pick up the phone and start calling offices, laboratories, for and non-profit organizations, churches and etc. Please do not make the mistake of waiting until you are in your third year of college to begin calling around for internship positions. If you are not lucky with the phone, don't give up!  Google the web for the types of internships that pertain to your career path then grab your keys, start your engine and begin driving to some locations.

Don't be rude! Please respect the hierarchy of the office setting. What do I mean by that? You should not just walk into an office and ask to speak with the nurse practitioner, manager, doctor or the company CEO. Begin by building a rapport with the receptionist and/or anyone else working in the front office.  Please remember that if the front office doesn’t like you, the back office won’t show you any mercy. You should remember that at the end of the day, the secretary might be the one typing and even co-signing your letter of recommendation.

From my experience, most office managers are very friendly; they are happy to help you achieve your full human potential.  You will need to make yourself comfortable during the initial meeting.  Due to certain liability restrictions, an office manager might not be able to accept you as an intern right away. You should nicely thank her and leave your contact information so that she may contact you shall an internship position becomes available. You also need to ask that office manager to pass on your contact information to any of her colleagues who might be interested in bringing an intern onboard.

Please remember that when it comes to you achieving your full human potential, the sky is the limit. You need to get out there and seize those opportunities.

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.

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