The term Internship has often been viewed as something solely for undergraduate and graduate students. I started thinking about all the benefits that taking on an internship offers and wondered, why wasn’t this something encouraged to high school students as well?
Honestly I didn’t even know what an internship was until I became a sophomore in college only to find out I needed to complete one to graduate. However, internships help to build a strong foundation for young adults who will eventually enter into the workforce. Isn’t that something everyone needs? So why not start early.
Internship describes the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.
Internships help to teach personal responsibility, accountability, work ethic, and reinforcement of work culture for young adults who may or may not have entered into a professional setting before. There are some adults out there that could benefit from taking on an internship but that’s a topic for another post LOL.
This post encourages professional internships at places like law firms, the educational system, city offices, etc.…Please don’t try to intern at Burger King because you like the Hersey pies. Nowadays it feels as though the main focus of school is to prepare students for college; but, even though statistics show the benefits of earning a degree, college is not the right fit for every student.
Internships will assist in reaching children who may choose not to pursue a higher education AND it will also benefit those who do. IT’S A WIN WIN SITUATION GUYS! Let’s take a closer look at how high school kids can get the jump on life by taking on internships.
It teaches personal responsibility. As with any job your child or student would be expected to arrive on time, in the correct attire and in the right mind frame to start their work day. These are all qualities that will be expected of them once they enter the workforce. Getting use to a schedule and tackling the tasks given to them will help high school students discover their strengths and weaknesses outside the classroom.
It teaches accountability. We never want kids to grow up too fast but once a child becomes a junior or senior in high school the reality of adulthood begins to set in. One of the things that every young adult needs to be equipped with is the tolerance for accountability. Young adults will need accountability for a boss under a deadline or accountability for the payment of bills on time.
This skill is closely related to personal responsibly but slightly different because it encompasses factors outside of one’s personal responsibility. I believe accountability goes hand-in-hand with the tolerance of authority. In the workforce, even in entrepreneurship, there will be things in which you are held accountable for.
Maybe it will be the completion of an important project by a deadline or expensive high tech equipment that you need to inventory; you will be held accountable for different things in life so why not get practice with this first.
We all need a strong work ethic. How often have you heard someone use the phrase “Oh, he has a good work ethic.” You have an idea of what that means but may not fully understand it. Webster defines work ethic as a belief in work as a moral good: a set of values centered on the importance of doing work and reflected especially in a desire or determination to work hard.
Some definitions describe work ethic as inherently good but I don’t believe in those definitions because many people have poor work ethic aka they’re just plain lazy. Internships will ideally place young students around individuals with a strong work ethic to expose them to how effective it can be. Personal responsibly and accountability on the job will also help develop a strong (good) work ethic.
Reinforcement of work culture. Depending on the type of job the internship is with, the work culture will vary. Someone interning at a law firm will probably want to dress more conservative as oppose to someone interning at an auto repair shop.
Students would be exposed to a work culture whose expectations concerning attire, language, and professionalism would be different from the classroom. In meeting these expectations students will develop an understanding on how to incorporate themselves in a working environment.
Positive experiences with internships could be confidence boosters for students that come from low income households. By developing the skills listed above they will feel prepared and reassured in their ability to provide a successful life for themselves.
Not to mention that by interning students are already building a network within the professional world. Taking on an internship in the field that a student thinks they want to enter into can allow them face the reality of the job. Alice could think she wants to go into law but after interning at a firm she now realizes that it may not be a good fit. Now when she goes to college she will have saved precious time and money by narrowing down her career choices.
Small towns may have less obvious opportunities for High School internships but it never hurts to improvise. Ask your local law firm, talk to the school career or guidance counselor, talk to your church to see if they are willing to provide an internship or information on an internship for high school students.
Internships will help to prepare college bound students for a world in which supervision is limited yet they will be expected to perform and complete tasks. Military bound students will learn basic military values like accountability, personal responsibility and work ethic.
These learned skills will only be reinforced once they start their military careers. Lastly, students who choose to enter the workforce after graduation will already have professional work experience, a professional network, work ethic, and a possible job from their place of internship. Students will then be ready to enter the workforce confident that they are able to perform.
By the way, not all internships are unpaid but not all will tell you that. So definitely ask. Shoutout to my boss from my internship at a police department who shared this information with me and paid me.$$$