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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Foley

The Power of Internships: How They Shape Careers & Skills Outside the Classroom

Annika Foley is a student at UC Santa Barbara with aspirations to specialize in business management. Annika brings an invaluable perspective to LaunchPoint as we branch out to more academic institutions and student groups.

Internships are crucial in shaping the careers and skills of students, offering unparalleled experience that bridges the gap between academic theory and professional practice. By allowing students to be immersed in real-world work environments, internships provide practical skills, professional experience, and an edge in the job market. An impressive 57.5% of recent graduating seniors who secured at least one full-time job offer had completed an internship, emphasizing the significant benefit it offers for career prospects. Internships are invaluable for a student’s career prospects, but they also help students develop fundamental life skills. 

Students in internships gain lifelong skills that are not directly taught in classrooms. A UC Berkeley study found that 62% of students were anxious about lacking relevant skills; working and hands-on experience can alleviate these fears. Soft skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving are extremely important for career success. In fact, a 2023 report stated that the most in-demand corporate attributes were soft skills, not degree-related ability. Additionally, internships provide technical skills through hands-on experience, allowing students to develop practical expertise in the real world. 

Exposure to the workforce and insights into various industries allow students to understand potential career paths. Getting experience in a field of interest provides students with a deeper understanding of the work environment of a potential career, guiding future career choices. Internships also provide students with networking opportunities to make valuable connections and necessary experience for resume building. 

I believe that internships are crucial for personal growth because they contribute to a students confidence as well as their life and career paths. Successfully navigating a professional work environment is no small achievement and it can instill a sense of accomplishment and self-assurance. Personal growth through internships is limitless and the skills that can be developed are essential. 

Internships are a critical component of career preparation that offers an array of opportunities, even beyond traditional classroom skills. There are countless soft and technical skills that can be gained as well as industry exposure, networking opportunities, and personal growth. Ultimately, internships are a vital step in exploring and establishing student’s careers and lifelong skills. 

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