Internships help students find their career niche
In the rare instance when something in life happens perfectly as planned, sit back and enjoy that feeling. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does, soak it in.
In a student’s perfect world, every internship would be a springboard directly to a dream job. In the real world of course, an internship may alert a student that some opportunity is not a good fit--or that a different opportunity would fit better, providing valuable growth and knowledge that cannot be taught in any better way than direct experience.
Elyisha Fye, a Paralegal student, found a great fit in her internship with the Department of Community Corrections. But getting there took an on-campus job and an unexpected new understanding.
Elyisha is in her final semester of the NWTC Paralegal program and is completing an internship with the Department of Community Corrections. Her goal following the internship is to transition to a full-time Probation and Parole Agent.
Elyisha initially enrolled in the Paralegal program with the goal of working for the Innocence Project. Her drive to be a Probation and Parole Agent began to surface during her Work-Study position in the Student Support Services office at NWTC. Student Support Services helps students succeed in college by providing non-academic support and access to resources like financial coaching, emergency grants, child care funding, housing assistance and the college food pantry.
In her words, “That’s what cemented everything coming together, working in the Student Support Services office, combined with the work I was doing in my program.”
It is important to note that the perfect world scenario not only CAN change, it WILL change. Internships fall into a category more broadly described as experiential learning, which means exactly what you are guessing. Learning by experience.
When asked how NWTC has helped her reach her goals, Elyisha credits the opportunity for Work-Study in Student Support Services, Paralegal faculty members Beth Pless and Anne Oestreicher, and Internship Coordinator Brad Zima.
Elyisha’s advice for NWTC students regarding internships?
“Just go for it. You have the option of doing a capstone and you have the option of writing a paper, and I know that there are barriers like time and other commitments, but I really think if you have the choice to get into an internship versus the other options, that real-world experience is extremely important. It’s going to let you know if you if you’re going to like what you’re doing or not, more than writing a paper ever would. Even at the beginning of your program, you should start looking at places you could do an internship and start planning. That’s where the most important stuff comes from.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Brad Zima is internship coordinator in NWTC Career Services. He specializes in connecting companies with skilled students to create valuable career and life experiences.