Summer Internships and why you should do one

by Nov 15, 2019

With the impending arrival of summer, much of your semester will be coming to an end and exams are slowly wrapping up. If you’d rather not sleep the days away, escape the Australian heat and invest some time in your career this summer! Whilst you may be looking, have already set one up, or haven’t even thought this far ahead yet, a summer internship takes what you’ve learnt this year and helps you apply it to real world happenings, while you can hopefully develop a variety of your own skills along the way. 

Each year as we near summer I’m reminded of my own internship experiences and how they have shaped my career to date. Whilst the advantages of doing an internship can be ENDLESS, here are a few to get you thinking:

They put your knowledge into practice. Summer Internships allow you to work on real-world problems in real-time.

After finishing your final exam you probably feel like a sponge of knowledge. Don’t let this go over your head. In the world of work the knowledge you have gained during class is re-shaped, distorted and synthesised to tackle a task. Summer internships can help you develop the skills to comprehend your learning areas in a practical way by applying them loosely to tasks in the real world.

For example, during the semester we may undertake interdisciplinary course work – that’s right, the dreaded…  GROUP WORK.

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I remember working on a ‘design thinking’ project with fashion, product and architecture designers. We were all put together and asked to solve a problem. This experience helped me in the summer internship I took on later, as I drew from this knowledge in communicating my ideas and working with multiple stakeholders. I collaborated with key marketing and events professionals as an integral part of the internship, and continue to do so in my career today. Through working in these student groups in the classroom I developed my ability to collaborate and think critically in the workplace as part of a team.

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It’s a taste test for your career. Summer Internships could help you discover the industry you really want to pursue.

As a Visual Communication student, I once saw myself tearing away at a logo in a small studio. A summer internship helped me understand the day-to-day of this specific type of design stream and to recognise that my career would be much more than just this long term.

As summer internships can run for up to 3 months, this is your chance to really uncover how your future may look in the industry you want to pursue. It can not only be a day-to-day snapshot but also a week-to-week or even month-to-month look at your industry. Through my summer internship I gained a rich insight into design projects from their early stages of drafting and developing ideas, to their result. Having the time to really see these projects evolve allowed me to experience the true scope of a career in design and the possibilities of what I could actually be doing, which was ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!

From getting you excited for the future to changing your career focus completely, summer internships will get you thinking early on about what you really want to pursue in your career and what you enjoy most.

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They can help you begin your own journey as a professional. From future learning to gaps in your industry.

Not only do summer internships develop you professionally (add them to your resume ASAP),

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they can also give you insight into what it takes to succeed in your industry.  In my own summer internships I would often see some areas I could grow and develop in my skillset. I specifically chose subjects thereafter around areas of data visualisation and web design as I saw this as a growing space at the time of my internship.

Whilst it may seem premature, summer internships can help you make the most of your time left at university by realigning your focuses and asking yourself: what do I need to do to help me succeed in the industry in 5 to 10 years’ time?

So, make the most of the time you have this summer and shake your career FOMO by looking for a summer internship!

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Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Katerina Pijaca

By Katerina Pijaca

Graphic Designer

Katerina Pijaca is a Sydney based designer and creative. She graduated from a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication at the University of Technology Sydney and is currently a graphic designer for UTS Careers. Katerina is a thinker, tinkerer, and maker, her adaptability allows her to fulfill the client/user briefs with creative flair and a youthful outlook.