We all have that exhilarating feeling annually post exam period. Fantastic! Three entire months of summer freedom! Then, approximately one week later, I am going crazy with what to do, already deep into my overdraft. Well, this summer I decided to be productive with my time, while earning some money to fund my final year.
Holiday plans on hold, I was lucky enough to get offered an internship as a Transport Planner at Jacob’s engineering in Manchester. So, for the following 3 months I was committed to working 9 hours a day in addition to the 4 hour round trip from home. I frequently questioned this decision when my alarm sounded at 5:55am, but the opportunity was worth getting up for.
On my first day I was welcomed, and thrown into learning about what transport planners do. I was made to feel comfortable and managed to fit in well, being invited to go for lunch with the other graduates who took me under their wing while I was there. This enabled me to gain a real insight into what it is like as a graduate employee – working to deadlines, attending meetings, writing reports and learning how to use brand new software. The work could be intense at times, but I appreciated that I was taken seriously and given plenty of ‘real’ work to do – rather than make cups of coffee which you often read about! After finishing my internship I used some of my hard earned cash to get away with my boyfriend, so it didn’t feel like I’d missed out on much.
Transport planning is a career path which I see myself following. I have really benefitted over summer. Working with others, and learning more about the profession has propelled me into an advantageous position as I enter my third and final year. This has boosted my confidence greatly knowing I can perform in a professional job. As we are constantly told, the graduate job market is extremely competitive; knowing people and companies helps get ‘a foot in the door’ and makes you stand out. But, of course only time will tell!
So, take my advice! Internships bring about so many benefits and help you discover the right career path for you. Skills, experience, knowledge and of course, money are just a few things that spring to mind. Even the application process of learning how to write well thought out applications and perform well in interviews – whether you’re successful or not – can really help when you graduate. University services such as the Careers Service are great with helping you find an opportunity that’s right for you, and guiding you along with the process.
Whatever course you’re studying, an internship should be something you think about in the next year.