When I was applying for internships in my second year of college, I went old school big time: printed my resume and bona fide letter on fine paper and all that jazz, drove around from one office to the other to drop it off. I thought it was better than sending the same cover letter to an email address that is flooded with thousands of similar ones.
Thankfully, it paid off. A week later, I got a call telling me that I had been accepted. What followed was a victory dance that I reserve only for my eyes…
Followed by a panicked struggle to shake off the stories of the numerous hassled interns that I had heard from people.
You know, the ones who wake up smiling at the bright, new day before spending the next 8 hours being invisible in a corner of the office? What if, like the stereotype of interns everywhere, I ended up fetching coffee and spending my ‘office hours’ making copies of documents? Would this be a worth the ‘learning experience’?
Nevertheless, I decided to take the plunge and called them back to accept the offer.
Yep, I agreed to work as an unpaid intern at a newspaper.
That alone would be enough to dissuade a lot of people, but I think internships are more a cause of ‘What You Do Is What You Get’. I didn’t sign up for the sake of a certificate; I was determined to make this into a genuine learning opportunity. And boy, did I get my wish.
Following that, I was rushed to cover an urgent story that kept me up till 11.30 in the night. As I was dozing at my breakfast table the next day, I came across that what every journalist lives for: their name accompanying a story.
Needless to say, I felt pretty good about myself:
And while that was a great start, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
It was a month of putting in fourteen-hour days in the blistering heat of May in Delhi, proving my worth every day, and thinking of ideas to warrant my own stories. Still, I wouldn’t have given it up because the rewards were enough to keep me going. Halfway through, I had gained enough trust to be sent out on my own and to receive bylines for most of my stories. I became the intern who was included in meetings, and whose ideas people listened to (even if they needed work).
At the end of the day, it was all worth it, and I’ll tell you why.
Four months after I left, I got an email from my mentor back at the paper. She had invited me out to cover an event in another city (Of course, I said yes).
I’m certainly not the first intern out there, so I can’t be the only one feeling elated at the fact that my work was good enough to be noticed. Anyone who tells you that internships are a worthless waste of labor either didn’t work hard enough or went to the wrong place. Not only do internships help you meet great people, but most of them are also willing to teach you whatever and however much you like. Not bad for your first foray out into the field, huh?
Tell you what, if you’re looking for somewhere to intern and are worrying yourself sleepless in the process, platforms like LinkedIn are the best option. With a ton of opportunities and amazing companies, they have numerous initiatives to give you a headstart, like LinkedIn-MTV ‘Get A Job’, a platform that helps students and career-starters kickstart their professional journeys with brands like Reliance Jio, Microsoft, Tata Motors, Adidas, Pepsi among others (a.k.a all the places people would kill to work at).
All you have to do is sign in with your LinkedIn profile apply to one or all twelve of the internships available. Shortlisted contestants will then have to send in a video describing why they are best suited for the position. Five finalists will then compete for the final internship at their dream company. See? Easy peasy.