By Reyna Estrada
It is no secret that college graduates may struggle to find work with their degree. Oftentimes, even entry-level positions require a certain amount of experience.
One way to obtain experience and set yourself apart from other candidates is through internships. Kristen Swims, a Career Counselor at Roosevelt University said, “We hope that the goal of an internship is to get practical experience. You know, in the classroom you’re learning more about theory, but an internship gives you the opportunity to put that theory into practice.”
While internships are clearly valuable and often necessary, students may struggle to start the process of looking for an internship, unaware of the resources available to them.
The Office of Career Development has taken strides in attempting to spread awareness of these resources with events such as the internship panel.
On Feb. 26, the Internship Panel featured Roosevelt University students and alumni with internship experience. The panelists discussed a variety of topics regarding their internship experience including an overview of their application processes and a discussion of what they learned from their time as interns.
Yolanda Flowers, a recent graduate of Roosevelt University with a bachelors in psychology, discussed her experience with the three internships she had during her time at Roosevelt University.
Over the past few years, Flowers has interned for City Colleges of Chicago, New Sector Alliance–a consulting and leadership firm– and as a research assistant for the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The best part for me was making new connections and networking. Also, being able to come out of my comfort zone,” Flowers said.
Another panelist, senior integrated marketing and communications major Lydia Makdah spoke about how she saw a lot of the ideas she learned in class put in action through her internship with After School Matters, a Chicago based nonprofit. “There is a lot of things that I learned in class that I thought were gonna be completely useless for events but they actually had major roles,” Makdah said.
Makdah was also able to highlight the value she found in her internship. “There is nothing that I haven’t really enjoyed, honestly. Everything was a learning experience for me, even if it was something that I didn’t enjoy doing. It’s still a learning experience,” Makdah said.
The panelists spoke about the logistics of acquiring an internship and shared what resources they found most helpful. “Career central was definitely my biggest aid,” Makdah said.
Swims concluded the event by encouraging the audience to make use of the resources that Roosevelt has available, reminding them to attend the Career and Networking Fair on March 21.
The Career Center website can be a useful tool in searching for jobs or internships, additionally the Office of Career Development continues to hold various events like the Internship Panel, with the hopes of providing useful information to students. However, some students have found these resources less than helpful.
Amber Barkes, senior english major, who currently has two internships, said she didn’t find the Career Center’s resources useful. “Most times, I find the resources tend to cater to more ‘professional’ jobs with not so much for arts careers. My research I did myself online was more valuable.”
Another student found more help through faculty and staff members. Karina Herrera, a senior integrated marketing and communications major, said the relationships she’s built with professors have been the most helpful. “RU professors want to help you. If you have good relationships with them, they will go out of their way to support you because they are genuinely caring teachers and they want you to succeed,” Herrera said. “Find a faculty member you respect and ask them to mentor you.”