Fall in love with your career through an internship

Every professor, parent or adult in your life preaches how important it is to gain work experience through internships, volunteering and part time jobs while still going to school. Most students say “I know” and then go back to their lives, forgetting they would benefit from this experience. Some schools require internships to graduate and others do not, but students who are required to take an internship benefit immensely.

I am required thorough the school of journalism to work 300 hours through an internship. For my political science major I am not required to intern, but I have been given several opportunities to intern. I applied and was accepted to be an intern for the Frasure-Singleton Internship, a week long experience shadowing and working with a delegate or senator at the West Virginia Legislature.

My experience as a Frasure  intern opened my eyes to the inside processes of state politics and I’ve learned so much from this programs. I was placed with a delegate in the house and enjoyed every minute. Here are a few things I took away from my experience.

#1 Legislators are kind hearted people, working hard to represent their districts.

More often than not when we hear about politicians, there’s a negative connotation attached to it. The public doesn’t always see how hard their legislators are working to help them and their communities. One must remember that they are one individual in a body of differing opinions. Each legislator must make allies within this body. Allies are simply people with similar interests; people whose communities are in need of similar things. With allies, it is easier to achieve the goals of your communities. They are very kind individuals. I am a college student; it would have been easy for them to blow me off or just give me some work to do and stick me in the corner. This was not done. The delegate I work with engaged with me; he asked my opinion on different bills and what I felt would be solutions to different political issues. He made me think. This was important to me because from a college student stand point, a lot of us do not believe our voices are being heard. After interacting with these delegates, I do not feel that way.

#2 Legislators are just like you and me.

This may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Legislators are regular people; elected by other people to represent them. May of our legislators are retired educators, doctors, lawyers, and business men and women. They take a break in their usual jobs, or in some cases work both, to represent you at the legislature.

#3 Interning with them; connections are made. It’s called networking and it’s important.

One of the reasons adults want us to intern is because we are making connections. Networking is very important, because in may job fields, especially politics, it’s who you know. It’s sad, but true. Not only did I make a connection with the delegate I interned with, but also those who worked with him. People who were in the same committees or sat near him in session interacted with me and wanted to know my opinions and plans, just as much as he did. Delegates took the time to learn my name. One delegate I was introduced to heard my name once or twice and always greeted me with a “Hello Cheyenne.” The individuals I met are the people I will feel comfortable going to if I ever need help with anything in politics.

These are only a few of the things I learned during my week at the legislature. I could talk for hours about how wonderful my week was and all the amazing things I witnessed. Most importantly, I want to suggest that others take the chance to apply for this or other internships. You do not have to be a political science major to attend an internship like this; you just have to be interested in learning about our state legislature. I’m someone who is your age and I am telling you it is important and so beneficial to gain the experience. Internships are getting a taste of a career before you are locked into it. You may fall in love with a career you never thought of being a part of.

Cheyenne DeBolt can be contacted at [email protected].