By Sarah Owens, Communications Management Assistant
I am a recent college graduate. And by recent, I mean I graduated exactly a year ago (I’m still trying to figure out when, exactly, it becomes inappropriate to call myself a recent graduate – I’m beginning to feel like the person who’s telling people she recently turned 30 when her 33rd birthday was last week).
Something that became abundantly clear to me around this time last year was that I didn’t want to settle for a job that simply paid the bills. I wanted a career, not a job. And I wanted a career that I could see myself in for the rest of my life. As all my friends, roommates and classmates were applying to various jobs, I found myself contemplating what my next move should be. I searched and searched for jobs I wanted and came to the realization that I needed experience. I not only needed experience, but I needed the right kind of experience. So, I made the choice that I knew was right – I decided to be a post-grad intern.
This wasn’t an easy decision. There is such a stigma attached to interning post-grad – and such arrogance in some recent grads, who think their bachelor’s degree is the ticket to any job that they want. I understand that arrogance – mostly because, for some, people it’s true. My own brother got his bachelor’s degree, and before even completing his senior year, he was offered a high-paying job right out of the gate. But he majored in engineering. His entire degree is based on taking the precise class needed to learn the exact skills he will use throughout his career, give or take some professional development throughout. Engineering is a technical degree. But I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree, and I’m quite proud of it. My brother writes a paper, and I think a third grader lives in his brain. He thinks I’m a free-spirited and unfocused creative soul. I know who I’d rather be (friends with), but I digress.
My point is, I took classes that would cultivate me into a well-rounded individual. The entire purpose of a liberal education is to train the mind rather than train a student to do a specific job. Plato thought this would make us well-rounded individuals trained for life. I think Plato was right, but what is right isn’t always easy – and we’re not living in Plato’s republic. I set myself up to have all the knowledge to succeed, but I still needed the experience to be gainfully employed — because employment is still the end goal here.
Hirons & Company understood my plight. Hirons’ internship program is perfectly suited for a recent graduate. Of the three communications management spring interns, all three of us were out of college. Since Hirons took so much time and care in hiring well-qualified individuals as interns, we were trusted with important tasks from the very beginning. I never felt like I was just the errand girl. At a former internship, I had acquired the nickname “Copy Queen.” At Hirons, the closest I came to a nickname was one of the other interns trying to make “Sosa” happen (it’s not going to happen). I was able to become deeply involved in projects and actively participate in the work being done. Because of this, I learned the skills that I needed to work in the communications industry. I feel as if I could obtain a multitude of different jobs with the experience I now have, and I can justifiably search for a career that fits my wants and needs for the future.
At Hirons, I felt valued.
The new interns are about to begin, and while some of them are still in college, I know there are some college graduates in the mix as well. I feel like I should be giving them a slap on the back and telling them, “Good for you.” Good for you for taking control of your destiny. Good for you for not settling for a job simply because it’s full-time. Good for you for shrugging off the stigma surrounding post-graduate internships.
If I’ve learned anything during my time here at Hirons, it was that you can never lose when you trust your gut. My gut told me I needed to do internships to get where I needed to be in life. My gut was right. And after being an intern at Hirons, I feel I can comfortably and proudly begin to shed my title of “recent grad” and maybe even start referring to myself as a “young professional.”
But we have to include the “young” — let’s not go crazy here.