the importance of an internship

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Where I went to college part of the curriculum was an internship.  The first semester of my senior year I went to work at Robinsons in Los Angeles as an assistant buyer in the mens
department.  The professor who was the head of the retail division had
relationships with every major retailer in NY, Boston, SF, Chicago and
LA.  He placed all of us into internships where we got full credit for
the semester and were given an opportunity to work in the jobs that we
would apply for after graduation.   

For me, it was brilliant
because I have been working since I got my drivers license (16) and I
preferred work to anything else.  What was also genius about the program
is that there were more than a handful of people that came back for the
last semester of college with the realization that this was not a
career that they had any interest in pursuing.  Certainly saved those
people a lot of time and energy. 

The generation of kids that are
in college now and are recent graduates have grown up with instant
feedback.  There is no need to wait for anything.  You post on Instagram
and you get immediately likes, you buy a new book and it is on your
kindle instantaneously without having to go to a book store and look
through the aisles, and of course there are tons of other examples.  
This generation also has a desire for constant reinforcement.  From
their parents who have never let them fail to the quick like that goes
up on Facebook.  Instant feedback and constant reinforcement are tied together but that is not what work life is like. 

The
importance of an internship is now more important than ever.  I am well
aware that very few of these internships are paid although that appears
to be changing due to law enforcement.  There is a saying that there
would not be an internet without internships and that is totally true
but I do hope that as many of the start-ups grow or even when they are
relatively small that they make sure to bring on interns. 

Internships
can be like making a mistake.  You learn from your mistakes and you
learn what you want to do or don't want to do from an internship.  I
have seen kids who thought they wanted to do one thing after school and
then ended up in a job that they never thought made sense for them and
ended up loving it or sometimes hating it.  I see my own kids as they
have all had several internships with a variety of different companies. 
Each has been unique, each has been an education, each has opened up
their eyes to the working world and what that really means, and more
importantly it has taught each of them what they really enjoy doing vs
something that they can just do. 

If you can give someone an
internship, do it.  If you can get one and can afford to do it for the
experience, do it.  I am a huge fan of the internship. 

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