By THOMAS SKEER
As members of the class of 2019 don their cap and gowns, ready to walk into the working world, some may be more prepared than others when the time comes to start earning a salary.
With millions of students graduating and applying for jobs across the country, work experience is a key factor for employers during the hiring process. Internships offer the opportunity to get work experience in a field of interest that can make the difference when the time comes to apply for a job.
“I think that some level of internship or research position is crucial for science majors in order to be marketable in the field that they choose to pursue,” said sophomore biochemistry major Kaitlyn Parker, who is currently participating in biochemical research with the Institute for Coastal Plain Sciences. “A lack of experience can hinder applicants because it can be seen as a lack of passion when compared to others who are seen as openly passionate through their work.”
Internships in general offer the opportunity to grow, learn and develop into a more well-rounded applicant. Some companies or graduate programs require a certain amount of work experience to even be considered for the position, which can put fresh graduates at a disadvantage.
“I have been looking at many jobs now that graduation is coming up and it is shocking how some entry level positions at companies require 3-5 years of experience along with a degree,” business administration major Conor MacMurdy said.
As the school year is coming to an end, the hunt for work is just beginning. Some have opportunities waiting for them when they return home, while others are just now starting to look.
“I work in the electronic warfare department at Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren and it is definitely relieving knowing that I have an opportunity set in stone,” junior mathematics major Benjamin Ahrens said. “I think that math and sciences majors definitely benefit greatly from internships and classes I have taken definitely prepared me well for my job.”
According to U.S. News, the average age for people to start an internship is 20 years old, but with the pressures and competitiveness of finding a job, some feel like they are falling behind from the start.
“I have not decided my major yet and it worries me that I do not have an internship lined up,” said freshman Griffin Hemmendinger. “Once I do figure out my major I feel like I will be behind all of the students that knew what they wanted to do since beginning college.”
Each student may have a different major, but the same theme continues to reappear: experience is crucial no matter what field the person decides to take.
“I think every college student should work some sort of internship in the field that they plan on [going into] after graduation,” senior business major Noah Bannon said. “It gives the person an opportunity to experience what it will really be like once they get into the real world and that is really important.”
The experience offered may be extremely valuable and lead to a future job, however, oftentimes present needs outweigh future ones. Many internships offer unpaid positions to college students, which can be a financial burden.
“During the summer it is nice to have money in order to go out with friends and have fun but I will be working a 9-5 internship with no pay,” says freshman international affairs major Cameron Wollard. “It is a struggle right now and I just hope that it will pay off in the end.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the month of April the unemployment rate among people 25 and older with bachelor’s degree or more education was 2.1 percent. Although young adults with college educations are more likely to be employed when compared to those with less education, the fear of not being able to pay off student loans or make a living is ever present.
“It is scary to think that I can work so hard for four years in college and still be unemployed after graduation,” junior accounting major Khalid Hirad said. “I have put in the work in the classroom but I still might not be able to put in the work out in the real world.”