Internships and a world of opportunity

Like it or not, there’s a stigma around being an intern. Some think it’s a last resort when you can’t find a “real job.” Others just see it as free labor.

On TV, it’s depicted as running around to get coffee for the people whose jobs are more important than yours. And anything higher-value consists of filing papers or changing document fonts for 40 hours a week.

I’m here to tell you that’s simply not true. Sure, there are some internships that can seem tedious, but others can make you feel like a valued part of the team – like what you do every day is actually making a difference for the entire company. That’s how I feel at Hyland.

My Hyland experience

On my first day as a Hyland intern, friendly faces – and a million opportunities – greeted me at the door. I remember people telling me what my department in Marketing is in charge of, but I also remember people telling me that if I want to try something different, all I have to do is ask. If I’m willing to learn, they’re willing to teach me.

This is the third internship of my college career, but  it’s the first time I haven’t felt like “just an intern.” My coworkers – no matter how high they’ve climbed the corporate ladder – treat me with respect, put their trust in me, and always take opportunities to teach me something.

Sure, there’s some filing and making of spreadsheets involved, but it’s evenly balanced with projects that are giving me real experience in my field, which is important for women in tech. While it may be hard to jump into a project I know nothing about, the weight of my responsibilities is nothing compared to the pride I feel when I see my work helping the people around me, and the company as a whole.

Making the most of your internship

Being an intern is so much more than just doing the things that other people don’t have the time to do. An internship is an opportunity for you to test the waters of the job and for the job to test the waters of you. An internship is also a great way to check for a good fit better than any entry-level position.

In addition, internships provide the freedom to see what you like, what you’re good at, and what you want to learn more about. It lets your managers see what you excel at, and it gets them thinking about how much they could benefit from having you around after your internship has ended.

If there’s one word to fully capture the intern experience, it would be opportunity.

And my advice? Learn what everyone else does so that someday you can do it, too. Don’t let the word “intern” stop you from using your talents and making a difference. This is only the first step in your journey, and for me, Hyland is helping me reach my destination.

What kind of internships have helped you along the way? Leave a comment below!

Adeleine Whitten
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Adeleine Whitten

Adeleine Whitten is living the #HylandLife this summer as a marketing intern. She will be graduating from Baldwin Wallace University this spring with a degree in marketing and hopes to... read more about: Adeleine Whitten