What I Wish I Had Known About College: Help (4 of 4)
- Internship opportunities are not always sponsored and managed by the school. Corporations will always have information if internship options are available. This a continuation of the discussion that began here.
As a college student, you join an entitled group of learners who are appealing to corporations. Yes, they recognize your value as a low or no-cost employee. But, I would like to think that it is more than that. They see you as an opportunity to bring fresh ideas to their boardrooms and project teams. They recognize the chance to vet a potential new hire with real-life projects. You gain the chance to show your skills, develop a portfolio, and meet with influential professionals in your field.
Skill development is crucial to your college experience. Skills developed in the classroom are foundational. Skills developed in the field can be transformative. The benefit is not only to you but to the corporation as well. The opportunity is to bring the classroom to life with application in the field. The real-world offers a crucible with which to test the lessons of the classroom in context. The outcomes may not be the same as what was revealed in the lab, but this is another chance for exploration and learning. You can see how context, personnel, purpose, and other factors impact outcomes.
Consider that every experience, including the classroom experiences, are contributions to your portfolio. Projects and achievements are typical entries, but also letters and reflections on projects could be collected. The best portfolios tell a story of competency, creativity, and confidence. Competency in the learning and development the profession requires of its experts. Creativity in form and function as well as the art and style that attends your degree program. Confidence demonstrated in the projects you have completed and the accolades you have collected. The idea is that you have been there and done that. You have learned from experience and are able to articulate your expertise.
Perhaps the most often overlooked function of college is over emphasized in the field. Most people ascribe to the belief that “it is not what you know but who you know.” A common refrain, but what you know does matter. It matters a great deal. Who you know also matters. You met several characters and experts in the form of teachers. These contacts can be useful recommendation authors for you. They could be instrumental in your pursuit of scholarships or internships.
The “who you know” in the field is potentially overemphasized. You may know people, but whether they know you is debatable. For the relationship to be useful, they are going to need to know you. For implementation, they need the willingness to stick their necks out for you.
Just like if you are held up by security. It is not enough for you to know the vice president that can override security and allow you into the building. That vice president would have to know you and want to take the time to ensure that you enter the building. And that’s the need. It’s what you know, who you know, who knows you, and who is willing to risk their reputation to establish yours. This is the level of relationship you are working to establish both with your professors and with professionals in your field.