When I decided to apply for the internship offering the opportunity to edit a scene from a renaissance play, I wasn’t even sure if I ever wanted to pursue a career in that field. Afterwards, I was certain! Although the play was fascinating, the editing itself was far too meticulous for my scatterbrain. I managed to get a rhythm for the work by the end of the internship, but the thought of doing it day in, day out, filled me with an existential dread. [I completely understand this, Ash! RB]. This said the experience was a good one as I picked up a number of skills in the process and refined some I already had, all while working with an interesting text and fun people.
It’s hard to know what you want to do at the best of times but I think internships allow you to do just that; try a whole range of different occupations to find the right one for you. Even if like myself you discover the internship you take isn’t exactly what you would want to do later in life, it can help you focus on the things that do interest you and eliminate the things that don’t. Hopefully a short placement will confirm whether a career is for you, not by a quick skim read of potential duties of a job advert, but through first-hand experience of the role.
Now that I have started applying for jobs (not in editing that is), I’ve found that the internship is a useful encounter that I can use to help illustrate many of the skills that have been practised more generally over the course of my degree. For example, now I can talk about things like proof reading and analytic writing in relation to this extra-curricular activity. On my CV I can now say things like ‘the research and report written while editing a scene for a renaissance play developed and demonstrate my communications skills’ rather than employers having to take my word for it alone.
Most of all, I think taking internship should be a way of exploring something you find interesting or are drawn to. Even if you have no intent of taking it any further, if the idea appeals to you then the experience should be a positive one. It also shows employers that you are more than a statistic, working for grades alone, but an individual with personal interests and the ability to turn you hand to different occupations based on your skills.
Practically applying the knowledge gained from studying English Literature with the internship I participated in was both challenging and exciting. It opened up a vista of possible opportunities that I had not considered before and helped me understand what I do want. If undertaking an internship is something that you can do, then I cannot recommend it enough.