Internships are awesome, even if you do end up getting paid in chump change …or not at all (which will probably be the case for most you come across). No, really! Internships pay you back in a priceless form: experience. It’s the perfect practice course for the adult world. My current internship with IT4Causes not only taught me a lot but gave me a practice ring for current skills I needed to hone. It also led me to great job prospects which have led me to this current entry. This is a bittersweet farewell as I transition from ‘Koren the intern’ to ‘Koren the volunteer’. But before I embark on my new journey, I thought I would impart some knowledge I have learned!
My starting advice would be to find an internship in your junior or senior year of college (or sooner!). I admit I was a little late on this front and regret it. While things have thankfully worked out, my bank account would have looked better if I would have started sooner. Internships can lead you to job offers and having a job lined up right after graduation is a lot better than eating PBJs every day. I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, “I just don’t have time for that!” Be sure to look into your university’s policies involving class credits. Some universities allow you to turn your internship opportunity into class credit. If not, take a good look at your weekly schedule and try moving things around before you decide you don’t have time. While a night in with the roommates playing Settlers of Catan is super appealing, remember an internship is a step forward in securing your future and your friends will still be there on the weekends.
Never back down. If given a task you don’t know much about or haven’t done before, don’t pass it to someone else or decline. Take it on and do your own research first. We are lucky enough to have the world’s information with only one click of a ‘search’ button. Use it! Every challenge leaves the prospect of growth. Though here’s a huge secret involving this piece of advice: you will fail at least one of these challenges.
But the best part is: that’s okay! Most people would appreciate your initiative and being corrected on a task only means you’ve become better today than you were yesterday; that’s the real value or experience. Don’t let opportunities pass you by, seize them. Otherwise, how are you going to learn anything?
Now that you have some basic advice, are you interested in taking my place? IT4Causes is looking for new interns! There are two internship positions open. One is the Nonprofit Management Internship involving responsibilities such as working with staff and volunteers to help the agency grow in many different ways, including marketing and branding, events, business development, networking, partner agency management and more. The second is an IT Implementation Intern, responsibilities include working with our Project Manager and teams of skilled IT volunteers to implement best-in-class small business IT solutions at deserving nonprofit agencies across RVA, learning all about cloud based solutions and more! Be on the look-out for full descriptions of each position. Stipends will be offered for each one. Happy interning!