Am I the only one without an internship?


Photo courtesy of Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Internships can make a college graduate’s entry into the workforce much easier. An internship is designed for college students to gain work experience and make connections with professionals in the network they would like to tap into. If an intern shows exceptional skills, the internship can turn into a career offer upon graduation.

Internships can provide a clearer picture of what a specific job entails on a day-to-day basis. It’s a time for students to see how a company operates. Usually, students feel like they’re in adult-life heaven when they can finally use their skills toward something they love. However, some students can also participate in an internship and absolutely hate it. It’s all about the experience and what the intern gains from it.

While effortless for some, finding an internship for others can feel like moving a mountain. For me, the internship search this academic year has been nothing short of one of the biggest annoyances of my time at FAMU. Internships, and getting them, have been on my mind since the beginning of Spring semester classes.

What’s even more disconcerting, is the fact that I received two seperate internships last summer. One with a public relations firm in Atlanta under a woman who happened to graduate from FAMU.  The other internship was for “HBCU Scholars,” to help during the Essence Music Festival with Walmart, Inc. in New, Orleans.

So naturally, I walked into this year’s Spring semester assuming I would  have the same type of luck.

Plot twist: Nope.

I have applied to 28 internships this semester and I have received 17 regret letters. I happened to see a social media post congratulating their new summer interns for a company that I applied to, but didn’t even receive a regret letter from.

Is my 3.83 GPA not good enough? Is my prior experience not enough? Am I just that boring on paper, are in the daily rants I say to myself after opening my emails to see nothing regarding an internship offer.

I asked around campus to see if I was the only one with these issues, and two accounts stuck out the most for me.

Although Stephen Lamar, a fourth-year elementary education major, is still seeking a summer internship, he seems to be somewhat satisfied at his odds for finding one. “I'm education, so usually it's during the school year where we have to student intern or student teach,” he said.

“With me being an African American male in this field, there's a huge need for that demographic in the field of education. So people are always excited when I approach them about an internship at their school,” Lamar said.

A growing problem for many FAMU students, including myself, is that it seems as though students in the School of Business & Industry are always the ones to have a high percentage of students with summer internships and multiple job offers upon graduation. Now, that’s nothing short of amazing, I applaud my fellow Rattlers who have secured their own bag before graduation. But I want the same to happen for all of the colleges and schools at FAMU.

“The same thing they do with SBI needs to happen with Education. SBI is almost the pride and joy of the university and it shows. [Especially with] the seminars, career fairs, partnerships and sponsorships,” Lamar said as he explained how much SBI offers its students.

 “Representation is everything, so if [the College of Education students] are presented to school districts and other educational entities we would have a much easier time securing internships,” he said.

I can walk into school-sponsored job fairs on campus and find, maybe three companies, out of over a hundred, who are looking to hire students in my field of study.

Daniel Joseph, a third-year business administration student, has been awarded two internships for the summer. One for Asset Management at Thompson Creek Wealth Advisors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and an executive search at Heidrick and Struggles in Atlanta.

After I rolled my eyes uncontrollably in jealousy, I asked him what his secret is to getting these internships. “Apply, apply, apply,” he said. OK, I did that. Next.

“Practice interviews. Being good on paper is important, but performing in person is critical. Be able to think quickly and communicate what you've thought about. One of the things people take for granted is the ability to talk about themselves and that is where they slip up on interviews,” Joseph said.

Well, that makes sense. I like that advice. However, I feel as though SBI students have it easier, so I asked him if he felt the same way.

“Definitely a true statement. We live in a business-oriented society where almost anything has a dollar value attached to it, and if it doesn't, people are willing to make one up,” Joseph said.

“I'm also at a business school designed for recruitment, so I'm never far away from opportunity,” he said.

Proving my point. Sigh.