By Aria Kopp
“I cannot imagine a summer without going to camp,” SMU sophomore Ellen Scofield said. “An internship may be an awesome experience, but it can’t compare to the feelings you get from being a camp counselor. The rewards are incredible.”
Some students, like Scofield, decide to spend their summers as counselors at camps that have shaped their childhood. Others choose to spend their time behind small cubicles as interns at corporate companies. No matter how students choose to devote their time, most are always thinking about how it will affect their futures.
Scofield does not feel pressured as a sophomore communications major to have an internship this summer. She prefers to spend her time away from college at camp. After spending 12 summers as a camper at Camp Honey Creek in Hunt, Texas, Scofield has now matured into the role of a counselor.
Scofield feels as though she’s touched the lives of many of her young campers. Last summer she taught a girl who was afraid of water to swim. By the end of the term, the girl was one of the strongest swimmers her age.
“I don’t think you can get those kinds of rewarding feelings from sitting behind a desk at an internship,” Scofield said.
Though this doesn’t effect the trajectory of her career path like an internship could, Scofield finds her work extremely fulfilling.
Students need to distinguish themselves from their peers in order to compete for jobs post-graduation. One way to do so is to work as an intern. Recent statistics show that there is a strong correlation between undergraduate internships and post-graduation full-time jobs.
Internships seem to be infallible experiences. Whether they materialize into a full-time job or not, the exposure the nature of the industry.
The Hegi Family Career Development Center not only helps students get full-time jobs post-graduation, but also links students with companies looking for interns. Chelsi McLain, associate director of career development, strongly believes in the benefits of internships.
“I think that they help you test out some of the interests you have and allow you to really understand what the professional working world is like,” McLain said.
No matter what major, SMU students find internships which help them stand out amongst their peers. Daisuke Takeda, a senior finance major, has worked in many facets of the banking industry. He has had five internships since graduating high school in divisions from healthcare valuation and to investment banking.
Takeda found his investment banking internship to be the most enriching. This 12-week- internship last summer enabled him to advise Fortune 500 companies that were preparing to go public.
Takeda shines in the classroom at the Cox School of Business as a President’s Scholar. Nonetheless, he believes that some elements of his internships are more enriching than his classes.
“The only useful things I learned in the classroom were basic accounting and finance. I learned almost all advance business knowledge from my internships,” Takeda said. “My bosses and co-workers at all my internships taught me invaluable, intangible skills that no doubt helped me land my full-time job.”
Some argue that the biggest downfall of internships is that they only provide students with menial tasks. However, Takeda felt needed.
“I was given actual responsibility right from the beginning for tasks that mattered,” Takeda said.
Sally Doocy, an intern at The George W. Bush Presidential Center, saw the impact she could make on SMU’s community through her work. Her experience proved that interns can act as key components to many leading organizations.
“I was so lucky to intern during the inaugural year at The Bush Center, and able to help out with marketing materials that will assist guests and visitors for years to come,” Doocy said.
Doocy proves that interns, like camp counselors, can have a positive effect on the people around them. Internships, just like any other job, are what students make of them. They allow students to investigate what career they’re most interested in. Ultimately, they can also be the key to earning a full-time job with the company.
Whether students decide to get internships or not, McLain believes that they should choose wisely.
“You’re not forced into these internships, you’re choosing to take them,” she said.