Are internships a waste of time?
In short, no – they are not.
Internships are a great way to see if you actually like a particular field. During university, I have found that studying a particular subject and working in it are two different things. Having completed co-ops in accounting, I know that I enjoy the work. After coming back to university, however, there were some accounting classes that I truly hated. What got me through them is realizing that accounting in the real world isn’t as bad as those classes were.
For some people, it’s the opposite. I know people who have loved their finance classes, for example, done finance co-ops, and realized that they absolutely hated it. So, internships are a great way to experiment.
Internships are also a great way to land a full-time job – and hasten your career progression. In accounting, for example, most employers will hire their co-op students for full-time roles. Because these co-op students have several months of experience with their employer, they start full-time at higher rates of pay than those who are starting fresh.
Oh, and you will most likely (but not always) get paid. That’s always a plus.
NOTE: There is a very nitpicky difference between doing a “co-op” and an “internship”. Co-op students have their salaries almost wholly subsidized by the government, while interns do not. As such, many firms prefer hiring co-op students instead of interns.
Have you done an internship? If so, how was your experience? Thinking about doing an internships? What’s your dream internship/employer? Post below!