Editorial: Five things I didn’t know before interning

It’s hard to imagine what a real job will be like. It can seem so far off for a student who’s spent the past 13 years at school and another three or four at a university. Will I like the job I’ve spent years studying for? Or, is it going to suit my personality and lifestyle?

Xanthe Gregory during an internship at the Goulburn Post.

Xanthe Gregory during an internship at the Goulburn Post.

Since starting an internship at a newspaper, all of my worries have been quashed.

As a student studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in journalism, I often get told there are no jobs in the industry. Wrong!

Or – the best way to get one is through experience. Right! 

Experience is just that. A taste of a real workplace, ideally doing the kind of work you’re aiming towards through your studies. Hopefully, it’s not just running back and forth with coffee orders!

So here’s five things I’ve learned during my internship:

You may save yourself years of unnecessary study and debt by putting yourself out there. 

I love what I’m doing, but work experience may be eye-opening if you hate the work.

If you enjoy it, studying towards it seems worthwhile. I’ve even improved my grades!

You’ll be three steps ahead of everyone else who’s graduated with the same degree but doesn’t have experience. 

You may get your foot in the door or even offered a job before you’ve graduated. If not, a great reference never goes astray. 

Meeting people who’ve worked jobs that you hope to is important. 

They’ll give you advice and you can pick up whether the work makes people happy or not, whether it’s something you’ll feel fulfilled with down the track.

Never underestimate the importance of networking. everyone seems to be linked in this small world. 

While your classmates may get a job as quickly as you, they may be learning everything for the first time. 

If you’ve done the hard yards, through an internship, when you start your job you’ll fit in like you’ve worked there for years. 

Bring a packed lunch (seriously!). It’ll save you so much money and you won’t have to stand in cafe lines, leaving time for a stroll in the park and a breath of fresh air away from the office. There’s no harm in earning some experience. 

  • Xanthe Gregory is an intern with Nine (formerly Fairfax) media, and a Charles Sturt University undergraduate.