Finding the perfect internship is not an easy feat. At times, it seems like everything has a prerequisite in college, and internships included. Finding an internship that you qualify for and meets all your expectations feels impossible at times, but sometimes the perfect internship finds you.
Rebecca Martin is a graduate student pursuing a master’s of social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She interns at a private practice counseling center. “[I] learned the ins and out of being a therapist, [like] checking clients in, conducting intake sessions, assessing suicide risk and conducting actual therapeutic interventions,” Martin said.
Since she got the internship in September, she picked up a handy skill that isn’t typically connected with a therapist’s profession. “What surprised me was learning to use a drill,” she said. “As an intern we also fulfill miscellaneous tasks that as part of this private practice clinicians must do,” she said. “I built and drilled in a pamphlet holder into the wall.” Even though it wasn’t a formal part of the training, one of her mentors pulled her aside because they needed the task done. Now she can do anything from drilling pamphlet holders to the wall to making a birdhouse to fixing a bed, all thanks to an internship at a counseling center.
Leah Lytle, a sophomore kinesiology major at the University of Maryland, has an athletic training internship with the University of Maryland football team. She landed the internship in January 2015 and attends all of their practices and games, as well as treating ACLs and swollen or torn ligaments before and after practice.
“[I] learned how to treat various injuries, I learned how to deal with people who are in pain and I learned that although patients might have the same injury, you treat them each like individuals,” Lytle said.
Despite previous work with her high school athletics, the independence and responsibility that this internship demands her to be quick on her feet and on her medical knowhow. “I am expected to know what to do already. I pay attention to what other people do and watch people so I know if something similar happens, I know how to react to it,” Lytle said. “I have to do things on my own and sometimes I might have questions and need help but for the most part I am kind of on my own and I have to figure it out,” she said.
Lytle doesn’t mind though, her experience with the football team actually helped her realize that this is the type of work she wants to pursue as a career. “It feels good that people actually trust me with their health and wellbeing. That definitely pushed me toward wanting to stay in the field where I’m helping somebody out,” she said. This, combined with her almost complete independence, made this internship immensely valuable.
Samantha Bingaman, a junior environmental science and policy major at the University of Maryland, interns with National Aquarium Education Department. Although the internship focuses primarily on outreach that teaches ocean education to schools and libraries, she got the chance to work with sharks.
“When I fed the sharks, I worked with the main caretaker. We walked on a catwalk above the shark enclosure, put fish (with their vitamins) on the end of poles, and worked to target train the sharks,” Bingaman said. Now she knows how to handle both sea and land creatures.
“After handling the animals and feeding the sharks, I picked up cool little tricks here and there,” Bingaman said. “One of the skills that I have been readily able to apply is at the beach, when a horseshoe crab washes up on shore, I’m able to carefully bring it back to the ocean without hurting it. I did that this summer and used the experience to educate people at the same time about safe handling.”
These students’ internships gave them a valuable, real-life skills that they didn’t expect to learn when starting the internship, so who knows—maybe yours could, too.