Internship (n.)- A scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.
I have discovered the perfect summer job. In this job, I am part of an organization that gives me duties that are critical to its long- and short-term success. Supervisors give me responsibilities such as interacting directly with customers on a daily basis, and they fully integrate me into the professional hierarchy. To top it all off, I am learning legitimate skills that will help me develop professionally when I move into the workforce. This mystery job I speak of: camp counselor. These are only a few of the many potential benefits of being a camp counselor, and I offer them not only to praise the occupation, but also to offer a propositional alternative to the profession’s biggest competitor: internships.
For the most part, interns do work that is wholly unrelated to any sort of day-to-day task that full-time employees fulfill. Indeed, not only do most offices give interns mundane tasks that the aforementioned employees would never do, but they are also given tasks that will only be taken over by another intern. In short, interning in any office, regardless of the field, will likely mean you will be performing more secretarial duties than industry-specific ones. Anyone thinking that taking an internship with Goldman Brothers will give him or her a better shot at becoming a full-time employee is misguided. As such, taking an internship for the sake of career advancement is an unwise decision.
As alluded above, internship experience rarely parallels relevant work experience. Moreover, a student with (all else equal) an internship experience — indeed, even two — will not receive a substantive boost in the hiring process. The dirty secret of the professional world is that everyone knows that internships are vehicles through which companies can unload their undesirables onto unsuspecting college students.
Given this, it is reasonable to conclude that internships provide few potential benefits for their laborious components. Not only are interns wasting time in their respective offices by performing arcane duties, they also are allowing their last free summers to go by the wayside. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, college summers are the last ones for which we will have a legitimate array of choices. Accordingly, students would be well advised to engage in activities that they would enjoy, as opposed to activities that they misguidedly believe will yield long-term benefits. To this end, there are more efficacies in volunteering, working in non-profits or even taking classes than doing an internship. However, the most benefit comes from being a camp counselor.
At my particular summer camp, Four Winds Westward Ho, I have learned many workplace skills that are more relevant than what I could obtain from an internship. For example, at Four Winds, located on tiny Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, I am fully integrated into the aforementioned professional hierarchy. I am given great responsibility; indeed, I am responsible for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of up to seven children for two four-week sessions.
Working at Four Winds has taught me perhaps the most important skill for any job: grit. Rather, working at a summer camp necessitates that I have the ability to seem happy and enthusiastic even when I am not. I have learned to deal with changes in the workplace on the fly, and I have learned to deal with people in the workplace that I do not like. In short, you should spurn the skullduggery of your potential internship to work at a summer camp. Indeed, whereas most internships are fraught with the malaise of the Carter administration and the excitement of the Buchanan administration, working at a summer camp is rife with enthusiasm that place them well above internships on the utility scale.
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