As a student at a liberal arts college, summers are an amazing opportunity to grow and learn in a way that’s not so focused on theory and historical facts. Summer break encourages you to develop real world skills that build on the knowledge acquired in classes or lectures. One of the best ways to get some of this hands-on, applicable career experience is through summer internships. Internships give you a platform to not only develop relevant skills in a workplace environment, but also gives you a chance to try your hand at a particular career and gauge if it’s up your alley or not.
Not only will you get invaluable experience working in the field of your choice, but you'll often have the opportunity to assume a role in the organization or company you’re interning for once your internship is up. Building valuable skills while learning how the real world works is an essential part of the university experience, and internships are a great way to do that. Internships are more often than not a kind of trial by fire; you’re placed into a job that can be quite fast paced, and you have to find out how to integrate yourself into the work environment. Because of this, you’ll develop skills like creative problem solving, thinking on your feet, and making decisions quickly and accurately.
“I began my internship this week by learning the processes of handling many of the administration aspects of this non-profit organization,” writes Shimer College student Tess Doubet King, who is discussing her experience interning at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois.
“For the entire office of the ACLU of Illinois affiliate, there are two staff members that handle administration; therefore, each administrative staff member has an enormous amount of responsibility and endless tasks of importance. In this vein, I learned a great deal in a very short span of time, and was immediately utilized in the completion of tasks.”
Advice for Internships
When it comes to internships, picking one that you’re actually actively interested in should be a priority. If you embark on an internship that’s not really what you want to be doing, not only will you most likely be bored and unmotivated, but it won't have the same value for building your future career if it's something you’re not interested in.
As a liberal arts college in Chicago, Shimer has connections with many companies and organizations, leaving you with a wide variety of internship opportunities to match your intentions. Although we are a small liberal arts college, we have access to the excellent career services center at the Illinois Institute of Technology, meaning there are highly qualified and motivated experts that will help find the perfect position for you. Don’t hesitate to take hold of your future and start building your career today.