A Guide To Navigate Through Internships

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With today’s fast paced corporate world, constantly changing economies and increasing demands of the employment sector, internship programs are quickly becoming the need of the hour, as they help tackle the competitive job market and also provide the practical learning curve for students. The primary objective of internships is to assert applied learning more effectively and get a hands-on experience for a student who is just starting out in their career.

There are so many questions that students have when it comes to internship programs, and that’s because even though they have been around for a long time, very rarely does a student know exactly what to do, or even when and where to do when it comes to internships. The first question that comes to mind is, “Will I get paid?”. There’s a raging debate about whether or not internships should be paid or not, and the answer may not be as simple as you think it should be. It’s important to research whether or not the industry you want to get into provides monetary benefits for such programs. For example, marketing internships may have a stipend based program where the stipend is directly proportional to the amount of revenue generated for the company. Government and finance are industries where monetary stipend is provided. In these cases, monetary compensation seems required and justified. On the other hand, there are internships in the medical field, wherein not only do the students not get paid, they also have to pay a certain amount to work for the organization. This structure is required when there is a heavy emphasis on the learning and training experience of the student, because the organization provides constant support and guidance for the student to excel in their job profile. Janhavi Singh Deo, a psychology student from Mumbai, who recently did an internship at Sion Hospital under practicing psychiatrists says, “Even though I did not get paid for the internship program, it is very difficult to find such internships in the medical field. Considering I did not have a lot of experience either, I think it was an amazing opportunity for me because I got to learn so much by being with working professionals at the hospital.”

The easy answer, one would think, is to go for a paid internship because making money doing something you love is always a benefit. However, it is sometimes difficult to find an organization willing to offer monetary compensation in specific sectors or industries. This is because a lot of industries focus on the application of education and priority is given to gaining experience and increasing marketability.

Another question that students often have revolves around the right time to start looking for internships; whether it is during your graduate course, or after. Is it more beneficial to do a part-time internship while also studying, or a full-time one after graduation? In a country like India, where society’s expectations sometimes pressure students to have a set life of school-college-job, it may not seem stable to do internships after graduation to gain experience. However, it is important to remember that either way, a learning experience can never go wrong.

There is no problem in taking a gap year of any sort, to explore career options and opportunities; neither is there a problem in directly getting into a job right after graduation. The crucial thing to remember is to not get overwhelmed by the amount of questions and confusions that rise when one starts to think about all this. Whatever you may choose to do, in the end, remember that it is a learning curve and that growth is what matters most in the end.

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