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What I Learned During My High School Internship

A student shares about her experience as an intern, and why you should be one too!

Are you debating whether or not to look for internship opportunities as a high school student?
What I Learned During My High School Internship
I had the tremendous opportunity to be able to intern for a Congressman my sophomore year of high school. It was only a 12-week session, but I learned so much during my time as a congressional intern. Considering the fact that I want to pursue a political route on my career path, this was so important for me to be able to see for myself if this was something I really wanted to do for a living!
Doing this internship so early on in my high school career was an amazing experience for me, and really helped me figure out what my plans after high school would be. I mostly talked to constituents about casework, helped with researching for projects and grant proposals, and I also filed and cleaned around the office. Although it doesn’t seem like a lot, I was able to get a feel of what it’s like to work at a government office. It helped me figure out what I like in jobs and working and what aspects I don’t like. For example, I love being able to help others and help them find resources to better their lives, but working during election season at a government office is not the best time. I was able to improve skills that I needed help with. I had to call a lot of people all of the time and talk to strangers constantly. At first, it was nerve-wracking because I was always nervous talking to people I don’t know. Overtime, though, it came super easily to me, and now I can assist people without a problem!
I also built tougher skin, since sometimes people can be super rude. I learned to brush comments off and continue on with what I was doing. I learned a lot of skills that could help me in school at the time, such as organizing Excel sheets, writing professional emails, and analyzing research in-depth. Most importantly, I learned what working in a truly professional environment was like, and it helped mature my work ethic as well. As you can see, I loved being an intern, and it left such a positive impact on me. It led me on a path of success, and really reassured me that this is the career track I want to pursue! It was completely worth my time and I would do it again and again!
There are different types of internships to consider. The internship I had was an unpaid internship, meaning that you are basically volunteering your time in exchange for work experience. Don’t ignore these though! Think of it as volunteer hours: you are helping other people while also gaining something for yourself! It is an amazing experience that I think is worth doing for free since the whole point of an internship is to gain work experience in a certain field. There are virtual internships, where you can work from home! They are paid or unpaid depending on the company, and it’s a great way to get an idea of work in the world of your intended field, while also being able to work on your own time in the comfort of your own home. There are also paid internships, however those are mostly for college students. Nevertheless, you may be able to find some that offer compensation. Regardless of which one you pick, an internship is a great opportunity to take advantage of, and as a bonus: it looks amazing on any resume or application and really makes you stand out! There are also many different places that offer internships. It is especially important to pick one that is somewhat related to the field of study that you are interested in. But if you are undecided or don’t know what path you want to take, that’s ok! You can do whatever you feel like doing and whatever sparks your interest. It is also a great way to see what areas you enjoy or what areas you would want to stay away from. Some examples of great industries for internships include government, health care, small or corporate businesses, and media. The opportunities are endless! When I found my internship, it was because I knew someone who also had an internship at a government office, and they recommended it to me. It is good to ask around and see if anyone has any advice to give. However, you can pretty much find them anywhere! Schools usually advertise them or they know a lot about them if you ask administration or college & career offices, and you can even find some near you or virtually here on Fastweb! Although an internship can be a huge time commitment, it is definitely worth the sacrifice! My internship made me who I am today and has prepared me for my future in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise. I wish you all the best during your internship searches; you’ve got this!

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