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The Hidden Price of Neglecting Internships

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By Chika Enuma

In today’s competitive job market, university students often find themselves asking one crucial question: “How can I stand out from the crowd?”

The answer lies in internship. In today’s rapidly evolving professional landscape, securing a successful career requires more than just a degree. It demands practical experience, a deep understanding of industry dynamics, and the ability to navigate real-world challenges.

Internship, with their unique blend of hands-on learning and exposure to a professional environment, offers a golden opportunity to bridge the gap between classroom theory and practical application. It is important to recognise that schools provide a solid foundation, but internship offers invaluable real-world experience that cannot be replaced. 

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This aspect of learning can never be fully achieved within the confines of a classroom. Textbooks and classroom knowledge cannot fully prepare an individual for the unpredictable realities of the professional world. By participating in internships, students gain a more comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of their chosen field, ultimately making them more marketable to potential employers.

Yet, despite its indisputable importance, many students approach internships nonchalantly. Some students squander this privilege by failing to recognise the immense benefits an internship can offer. 

Amidst the undeniable significance of internship, it is disheartening to observe that a significant number of students approach this invaluable opportunity with a nonchalant attitude. Instead of embracing the chance to learn, grow and contribute, some students see the internship process as nothing more than a checkbox on their university’s requirement list.

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They enter their workplace with a skewed perspective, focusing on taking pictures, uploading their social media status, and impressing their peers rather than immersing themselves in real-world experiences. The image they present to the world may shine but deep down, their internship experience remains unfulfilled, failing to leave a lasting impact necessary for personal growth and development.

Many of them dive into internships without a clear aim to create a positive impression on themselves or their university. This lackadaisical approach not only hamper their growth and development but also reflects poorly on the educational institution they represent.

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Unfortunately, this lack of dedication and engagement deprives them of the essence and transformative power of an internship. Instead of embracing the opportunity with enthusiasm and determination, they seem to treat it with mere formality

An internship is not merely a formality, but an opportunity to make a lasting impression. Students who approach this internship with all seriousness, dedication, and a hunger for learning leave employers with a positive and memorable impression. This can lead to glowing recommendations or even job offers upon graduation.

Conversely, those who treat internships as a casual endeavour risk leaving a negative impression, ultimately leading to missed opportunities and regret when entering the competitive job market post-graduation. While it can be tempting for students to view internships as a means to simply fulfil a credit requirement or gain a line on their resume, they must recognise the long-term impact of their actions.

The impression they make during an internship can shape the path of future career opportunities. Diligence, punctuality, professionalism, and a genuine thirst for knowledge are qualities that employers value, and it is through internship that students can develop these coveted qualities. 

Internships also provide students with valuable networking opportunities. Connections made during this time can prove to be invaluable when seeking future employment or mentorship. Employers often prefer hiring individuals with industry connections, as this demonstrates a proactive approach and the ability to engage with professionals in their field. Neglecting internships means missing out on valuable connections and potentially hindering one’s future career prospects.

The author, Chika Enuma, is a 200 level student of Mass Communication at Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. Email: enumawinnerchika@gmail.com

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