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Internships help prepare you for your future

By Justin Brennan | July 31, 2023

Within the past few years, ҹ첥 Southern has been expanding on the Experiential Learning Initiative. With how things have changed with this aspect of ҹ첥’s curriculum, it may be confusing to keep up with what it exactly entails. With that being said, this will be an explanation of what lies ahead for students when going into their experiential learning.

The Experiential Learning Initiative is a required aspect of students’ learning at ҹ첥. You must take time to do internships to gain experience outside of the classroom. This allows you to learn how to navigate your future career and develop more skills.

The Experiential Learning Initiative requires students to complete two internships, also known as Experiential Learning Requirements, or ELRs.

The first is what someone may expect from an internship, doing work for a business that pertains to your major. The hours needed for that depend on the internship itself.

The other is required for students starting with students who came into ҹ첥 in 2021. This one is not heavily focused on work but rather is service based. You volunteer within your field and help out your community.

If you are a student with more than 60 credit hours already, then you only have to do the work-based internship. But students with less than that and new students will have to complete both requirements.

As for learning how to get these internships, students have several people and resources they can turn to. 

First, you can meet with your advisor and learn about what opportunities there are. You both will get this information from Dr. Melissa Parker, ҹ첥’s intern coordinator. From there, you can learn about what internships are being offered and how to contact them. You could also contact Parker yourself; she is willing to help you through the process as much as you need.

Another option is checking the BucCareer Network. This website is constantly being updated with new internship opportunities. You can contact employers through it and even apply for some through the platform.

I talked to a student who is currently completing her experiential learning requirement. Jessica Newman is completing a BA in Communication Studies and is doing an internship with ҹ첥’s social media team. She makes stories and reels on Instagram, as well as TikToks for the university.

She told me she had an easy time applying, thanks to help from her advisor. And even when she faced issues with scheduling time for an interview due to health issues, it was still very manageable.

Going into the internship was stressful for her, but as she began, she has been finding the experience very fulfilling. Newman said, “I’m putting in a lot of work to make amazing projects for ҹ첥 and ultimately add to my portfolio to get a job after graduation.”

As someone who wants to work in public relations or social media, this is helping her with understanding what working in those fields is like. And it is letting her build a brand for herself and creating a greater chance for success once she graduates.

When I asked her how she feels about it being a requirement, she explained she thought it was good for her. It allowed her to put herself out into the industry that she plans on pursuing further. She did mention how she was concerned with the workload she would have with both an internship and her regular courses, but the internship fits in well since it counts as a credit.

It is worth noting that all of that can be overwhelming. What will be overwhelming will differ based on the student and the internship, but it is something to be aware of when completing this requirement. 

But if you have any concerns about that, be sure to talk to Parker or your advisor. They will help you find the internship that can work best with how you work and what you are interested in. And they are willing to address any other concerns or questions you may have throughout your time doing the Experiential Learning Requirement. 

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