Internships and experience: a degree most likely won’t be enough


By Marcus Alvarez
October 27, 2021

Graphic by Marcus Alvarez.

Visualize working and studying for years to grab a degree on that graduation stage, full of high student debt and expectations, only to not find a steady job – a parent’s worst nightmare.

Searching for jobs is highly competitive now. A plethora of college students are studying for and obtaining the same degrees. Out of those students, employers are looking for select people with distinguishable characteristics and experience. Relying solely on a degree will not get anyone working towards a career far in this day-in-age.

Acquiring an internship or opportunities in the real world during college will open new career paths. The National Association of Colleges and Employers conducted a survey, which shows that 72.2% of college graduates got a job offer with having internship experience. For college graduates without internships, only 36.5% got a job offer. The benefits of having these are endless, so it’s optimal to find opportunities in your intended career field to increase the odds of securing a job.

Internships allow for a “trial period” in the chosen career. Exposure to a workplace or company environment and culture will allow students to understand and become comfortable with future real-world environments. Students can apply what they learn in the classroom in a professional environment. While applying knowledge, students can grow upon their set skills and improve themselves.

Associate professor and chair of Communication department, Dr. Dawn Francis, said that acquiring internships allow students to find likes and dislikes in a selected job or career.

A Cabrini upperclassman, Hannah Dalton, is almost finished with her internship at Abington Township Police Department.

“It has been a wonderful experience and has given me the opportunity to see the inner workings of the department as well as what a typical day maybe for a police officer on the street,” said Dalton.

Networking or the ability to network is a key factor that exponentially increases employment. Who you know often outweighs what you know.

Francis said that utilizing internship opportunities will help expand your networking. If you do well in an internship, it will allow you to meet professionals that might potentially help jumpstart your dream career.

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The right connections may make finding a job more seamless, or land someone a dream job. An advantage of having internships is building and establishing a list of contacts. Internships may not lead to a secure job, but those contacts will prove to be a hidden and unexpected treasure.

Mining hidden treasure is not easy. The networking ability requires putting oneself out there. Taking time to develop, maintain and commit to those meaningful relationships is a key component of networking.

Finding internships or opportunities should correlate with your intended career. The right experience can be a sizeable learning and growing experience.

“My biggest piece of advice is to not let yourself get too stressed out about the process of finding and completing an internship…it should be a fairly enjoyable experience. If you’re worried about any part of the process, I’d say to definitely check out the Career Center, speak with your advisor or reach out to the professor that will be teaching your internship class,” said Dalton.

The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), located at the Widener Center, is determined to help students along their career journeys.

Cabrini Widener Center front entrance. Photo by Marcus Alvarez.

Francis said that Indeed and LinkedIn are other resources to locate internships. She also said that students can petition the CCPD and fill out an internship application to bring new internships to Cabrini. The CCPD will ensure that petitioned internship opportunities are “high impact” and challenge students.

The CCPD offers overwhelming support, from advising and career management to hosting several CCPD events. These events are hosted throughout the semester for undergraduates, graduates and alumni. More information on the Cabrini Universities website.

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Marcus Alvarez

Hello, my name is Marcus Alvarez! I'm currently studying at New York University pursuing a journalism career. At Cabrini, I served as a reporter in my second year at Cabrini and became Managing Editor in my fifth semester. As a journalist now and in the future, I hope to cover social justice issues and investigate problems facing my community. A fun fact about me is that I am a dual citizen of the United States and Australia.

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