Your career needs an internship

Internships are the launching pad for any career path. They often do not require extensive experience or references, and can offer gap-semesters for students who do not want to focus on a career while attending college.

However, many students have trouble finding the right one.

Fortunately, Santa Monica College students do not have to figure everything out by themselves. SMC has an internship office, located in the Career Services Center, that should be taken advantage of before getting started with a career.

On Thursday, SMC's internship coordinator Judith White and her assistant Lisa Moss gave a presentation on what internships are, how you can get them and what they are worth to employers.

Whenever White is not giving lectures, she said she is happy to help students who drop by her office.

Although not many students showed up to the presentation, White said it was a "nice showing."

White began the lecture by praising the college's Career Services Center for the services offered to students.

The center makes finding and landing internships swift and effective, she said. Located by the new bicycle racks on Pearl Street, students should ask for internship information, choose from a list based on interest, and let White help with the rest.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not harder to land an internship in today's world, as opposed to a few years ago.

"I think it's actually easier to get an internship now than, say, five years ago," White said. "I think it's easier to get one with a weaker economy."

Internships are sometimes viewed negatively because some students have bad experiences with them.

Andreas Vasquez, a computer science major, had a string of bad luck with internships. He hoped that White could help him find the right one for him after two years of disappointing results.

White addressed the students' concerns about bad experiences with internships.

"Most internships only set up objectives," White said during the lecture. "Rarely do students come back with no sort of experience. They really do learn things. Even if it is just them doing tedious things, it's important for them to see the field firsthand that way."

Art major Kimberly Burciaga thought the presentation given by White was "a tad helpful."

"I had gone in not really even wanting an internship, but left thinking that maybe I should look into it," Burciaga said.

With the Career Services Center at work, it is harder to not find an internship around campus. The center also offers students help formatting and building resumes.

The only stipulation is that students must have been enrolled in at least six units the semester prior to the internship, according to the internship office.

Not every internship will be perfect, but the experience alone is worth more than a lesser job would pay.