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Summer internships: pros and cons

Calm down, I know what you’re thinking: ”Yeah, yet another article trying to convince me to do a summer internship, old news”. You’re right, it’s old news and something more discussed than the last US presidential election (ok, probably not). But this blog wouldn’t be KWAN’s if we only delved into the professional standpoint of internships, of which you have heard so much already. The truth is that enjoying your college years is as important as investing in your future career.
  So we have decided to present you both sides of the coin, with 3 pros and 3 cons.

  Office life

Pros: 

”Summer internships can be positive to know exactly what you like and don’t like, so that, in the future, you’ll be able to guide your career according to your goals.”   — João Mauritti, Lead KWAN Ambassador    

1. Professional experience

You may have heard this before but “not everything we learn at university is used in our job”. This is true, to some extent. There is a reason why companies prefer people with work experience. People who have worked previously not only have acquired skills that are only found in a professional context, but are also more acquainted with work methodologies and business culture. Basically, if you work, you become more desirable for companies who are looking to recruit you. Also, knowledge is taught, experience is acquired. This is your stepping stone towards the professional world.

2. Testing your skills

On the other hand, an internship allows you to test the skills you have gained over the years, in a real setting. Forget about the equations on the chalkboard and raising your hand to tell the answer. Now, you have to take what you know and create the best possible solution. This real consequence will put what you have learned in perspective, letting you know how things are done in the professional world. Sometimes it’s about details, other it’s the opposite of what you've learned.

3. Sense of reality

Finally, a summer internship will give you a new perspective on your reality, you’ll notice things you like to do, the kind of people you like to deal with or how to improve your performance in a business environment. In the end, it’s about both personal and professional growth.        

Cons:

 

“Invest in your development as a person and try to accumulate experiences that make you more mature. This is more important at a first job opportunity than summer internships”.   — Sara Gorjão, KWAN Ambassador  

1. They are “supposed” to be the best years of your life.

I know, you’ve heard this one before and the premise that life will never be better than right now is, in my opinion, wrong and demotivating. Nevertheless, college years are marked by discovery and curiosity, both personally and professionally. Every month you are crossing paths with brand-new ideas, people and perspectives. All of these experiences contribute to the professional and the person you are becoming. Don’t put the cart before the horse, enjoy the journey because there’s nothing quite like it.

2. There are alternatives

The truth is that you don’t need a summer internship to increase your skills. Attending tech meetups and listening to professionals related to your field is one of the best things you can do. It’s something that will give you some perspective about the current reality of companies, while providing you access to a network of professionals you can rely on for any technical or social issues. Side-projects are also quite valued. They give you the opportunity to test and increase your skills when it comes to creating something and they show your proactiveness, initiative and approach towards problem-solving, characteristics particularly sought after in the professional market.

3. Time, time, time

During the summer, time is the most important factor. You have plenty of it in your hands to invest in the most different things, from traveling, to going to the beach, being with your friends, stressing about the next semester and so forth. The important thing here is to plan and think about the best ways to invest that extra time, whether attending meetups, be with your friends, create the next trendy app or go to NOS Alive. There is room for every during these months and, if you plan your summer properly, by September you’ll be a better professional and a better person.

”Now what, should I do a summer internship or not?”

  It’s your choice, both are win-win situations. One requires pro-activity and planning, the other takes you directly into the professional realm. The most important thing is to discover the path you want to follow and plan for it.

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