I always thought of internships as more of an afterthought, something to punctuate the end of one’s college career.
But then I met several classmates who had already interned at such interesting places. I heard about their involvement in meaningful causes and felt a little jealous of the insight they had earned from their real world experience.
So, this spring semester, I took a position as editing intern at The Studios Inc, a nonprofit arts organization in the east Crossroads district in downtown Kansas City. Studios Inc serves mid-career artists through a selective program that rewards them with studio space for three-year residencies. This provides opportunity for them to not only create and grow as artists, but also to network with artists, patrons and others involved in the local arts community.
Colby K. Smith, the director of Studios Inc., is an artist himself and extremely passionate about the mission behind the business. He also cares deeply about the internship program, ensuring that every day there is interesting.
From this semester, I now have actual experience with generating and editing content for an organization and, perhaps more importantly, with stepping into the job 10 hours a week. With the addition of my internship at Studios Inc to my schedule, I learned how to really manage my time between taking another 12 hours of classes, working 15-20 hours a week, hitting the gym and still having relationships.
I got out of the habit of procrastinating on Facebook or Pinterest each night and learned to actually follow through. I broke down the steps in my planner for long-term papers over the course of weeks instead of a few hours the day before the due date. Eating breakfast and drinking coffee in the morning could be spent finishing the last half of a chapter or research article, and the half hour between classes was better served skimming a rough draft instead of the Instagram feed.
Spending over 10 hours every week at an internship may seem like the last thing you want to do on top of school, work, and just living your life, but you will be better off because of it. The pressure of busy-ness can teach you valuable skills specific to your field and many others, like time management, organization and follow-through, which benefit you as a student.
You’ll also meet people, and some of them will be wonderful examples of how you could be doing a little more, or of how you’re not so alone in your struggles. I made a few such friends at Studios Inc who I will be sad to no longer see regularly, but this just means managing my time some more to see them.
The Roo Network has a wide variety of internships listed, and you can also find some more that are specific to your major on the department’s website. Discuss any credit you could possibly earn with your major advisor and with your supervisor at the internship. If you’re lucky, you might find a paid one (ha).
Of course it’s tempting to make your summer easy and cruise through a condensed class or two for the sake of the credit. But, put in the work, and you’ll reap the reward. You’ll always remember the summer of 2015 when you had that internship, made a few friends and learned a few things about yourself.