Nowadays, doing an internship during one’s vacation has become more of a fad than a necessity. Almost all students join an internship in whichever company they are able to worm their way into, irrespective of whether the work they’ll be doing will actually increase their knowledge of the field they are majoring in. In India, the whole concept of Industrial Training is very skewed. One lands an internship, more often than not, on the basis of who one’s dad knows, instead of one’s own merit.
And when you actually begin your internship, you realize that you have to really strive to even get a worthwhile project that has significance to your field.
Most of us just end up “Ctrl+C-Ctrl+V”-ing tidbits from the internet and few books to create a project report without a single word actually registering in our brains. “We’re getting a certificate for doing almost nothing!” you’d think. Win-win situation, right? NO! When you appear for an interview as a fresher, THIS work experience will be focused upon by prospective employers. You should know your project like the back of your hand. You should be so proficient in the area of discussion that you’re able to handle the volley of questioning and cross-questioning you’ll be subjected to. If you’re not up to it, these certificates will do you more harm than good, and you’d be better off skipping any mention of your so-called internships in your CV.
Hence, it is vital that you make the best of any opportunity that comes your way. Ask for work, talk to your mentor, chalk out a plan and pursue topics that interest and grip you, so that you can put maximum effort into it. Learn new skills and techniques that could help you strengthen your work during the training period. No one will necessarily ask you to do it, no one will set homework for you and no one will chastise you in case your work is not top-notch. This is the harsh reality of being an intern – no one really pays too much attention to what you’re doing since you’re almost a non-entity. So we need to get out of our habit of doing work only when a task has been assigned to us and be proactive. Of course, this is what the majority of us face. Some fortunate ones get to work in companies that not only take interest in teaching you something new but also ensure that you apply it fruitfully. But that’s the case for a lucky few.
These are the rudiments of a stipend-less internships and training. Work experience WITH pay is an altogether different ballgame. Bear in mind that companies offering stipends are going to make you work extremely hard to earn each and every penny of it. Do not expect the job to be a cakewalk and do not make the mistake of taking it lightly.
Now that you know the ground realities of being an intern, be aware of suitable openings, choose wisely, apply to places where you think your interests will enhance the quality of your work and lastly, take initiative.
About author – Kriti Saxena is a 3rd year student at Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology(NSIT), Delhi.
Image credit – http://intern.blogs.american.edu/files/2011/01/Be-prepared-243×300.png