Learning and Interning in Real Time

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How would you rather spend a Sunday night? A) In the library reading a 200 page textbook about the principles of marketing. B) At a Wynter Gordon show handing out flyers and hanging out in the VIP room.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say you chose “B” (unless you really love the library.) That’s what I chose a few months ago when my internship asked me to work an event during New York Fashion Week. Though, I may never know what that textbook said, I learned more about marketing in those four hours on the Lower East Side than I have in the last four years of college.

Internships are the most informative classes you’ll ever take. Solving real problems in real time means you’re more likely to learn the solutions than if you were to just read about them. And even if you highlight and annotate the hell out of that marketing textbook, sometimes it never has the answers you need in it.

Paul Blest, a political science major at the University of Delaware, recently started interning for the Delaware Democratic Party. So how did all those Wednesday night political science lectures from last semester help him?

“Before I started interning I thought college was all I needed to prepare me for a job,” he said.  He realized that what he learns in the classroom is more of background knowledge than a helpful tool in getting a job after graduation.

“The best lessons come from going to work, dealing with people and seeing what your future will actually be like.” In the blog he helps manage for the DDP, Paul has to actually forget everything they teach you in school about writing papers. “It’s the complete opposite of writing for class. In class, you usually have to take an unbiased view. At work, we’re fighting for the cause of a majority political party so all objectivity goes out the window.”

Getting real world experience in the field you’re studying is more valuable than that degree you’ll soon earn. Plus, would you imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars on an economics degree or something and then deciding you actually hate being an economist? That would be the worst. 

Junior > Journalism > New York University

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