By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant
DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.
As a freshman, your first thoughts generally are not “how do I get my first internship?” but more along the lines of “how do I get myself up to get to my 9 a.m. class on time?” However, there are a lot of benefits from becoming a freshman intern and getting experience in your desired field. Internships in your freshman year can also serve as an exploration into careers that you may be interested in.
Maggie Baker, a DePaul anthropology major, had the opportunity to work at the Life Force Arts Center as a freshman, and really enjoyed the experience. When she began working there, she started as the programming assistant, but Maggie soon worked her way up and started doing tasks for all areas in the art center. She worked on finances, administrative tasks, and her favorite, creating exhibit guides and selecting pieces for the shows. Throughout this time, Maggie also had the privilege of getting one-on-one mentoring from the owner.
How can you, too, score an exciting opportunity and experience? Well, the first step is to start looking! There are many ways to make the process less intimidating, and run smoothly. Here’s a quick checklist on how to help you secure a freshman internship:
- Decide if you want a paid or unpaid opportunity
- Start looking on Handshake for an internship and visit your career advisor
- See a peer career advisor at the Career Center for a quick resume review
- Start applying for internships and pay close attention to the deadlines
- Rock the interview after some help from the career center!
Using this guide, or following your own, can help you land that great first college internship. Starting out early can “prepare you for the work-school-life balance,” Maggie says. Plus, having an internship under your belt early will attract employers and is key information to add to your resume.
Another highlight of being a freshman intern, Maggie says, is that “they aren’t going to treat you like a freshman.” Internships aren’t going to hold back or dilute the experience just because you’re in your first year, so you don’t have to worry about not gaining valuable skills.
They [employers] aren’t going to treat you like freshman.
There are many employers out there that are willing to take on freshman interns. Don’t get discouraged if at first it seems as if they only want older candidates. There is a position out there for all majors. If you’re having trouble, Maggie recommends using all the resources DePaul has to offer, especially within the career center.
Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.