If you’re anything like me, you want to get internship experience in college. That’s actually one of the main reasons why I chose to come to Pace University; their internship opportunities and career services programs they have for their students are endless. You just have to go out and get them! In the next 900 words or so, I’m going to share with you some of my experiences as well as tips on internships, especially during “Covid times.”
At Pace, I am a Dyson College of Arts and Sciences student. I originally was a communications major, changed to public relations, but then realized I wanted to broaden my classes, so I ultimately changed back to communications. I felt that this was what worked best for me; I was able to take the courses I was interested in while still being engaged from the hands-on classes in the Media Communications and Visual Arts (MCVA) program. Changing my major and minor various times was a journey in itself, but that will be for another blog! Let’s focus on the main point here: internships.
Looking for an internship can be daunting to say the least. Questions like “Where do I find one?” or “Will I even like this experience?” might run through your head. First and foremost; any internship is an experience, and it is one that you can put on your resume. Almost automatically, you will stand out from others who have not had an internship, it says a lot about you!
As far as where to find an internship, Career Services should be your first stop. You can schedule an online meeting with a career counselor here! Way back when I was a freshman, my resume was nonexistent until I stepped through the magical doors of the Paton House and entered Career Services. There, Tori Quaranta (my resume savior) helped me piece together my very first resume. I felt like I had the golden ticket. I wanted to submit this thing everywhere! Thankfully, I did have a chance to submit it, and it led to my first internship.
During my sophomore year, I attended Pace’s job and internship fair on the Pleasantville campus. I basically frolicked from booth to booth, talking to recruiters and handing them my resume. I eventually visited a booth where the company Shoppable was, a small technology company that makes brands such as Dove, that doesn’t have a physical store, thus shoppable online! I was somewhat interested, so I dropped off my resume and continued on with my networking. A couple months later, I was emailing back and forth with the same recruiter I had met at the Shoppable booth, and scheduled an interview!
I landed a marketing internship, and spent the summer in New York City in downtown Manhattan, and I was living the dream! I mastered the NYC Subway (after getting lost only 3 times!), was visited by the Freedom Tower every morning, and learned valuable marketing skills.
Side note, even if you don’t like your internship as much as you thought you would, try to pick pieces from your experience that you can highlight and put on your resume. If you’re stuck, ask a career counselor for help!
A year went by and I was super busy with juggling my roles at Pace as well as my 18 credit semester. My junior year, I (somehow) managed to balance being a tour guide, a resident assistant, a waitress, Strengths intern, and smoothie maker at Pace Fit! How did I do it? I really couldn’t tell you, but hey anything can happen if you manifest it and work hard. Needless to say, I did not have time for an internship. I did however need another one before I graduated in May of the next year. One of the criterias to graduate from any Dyson major is an internship attached to an internship class, where you essentially blog about what your duties are from week to week. I was confident I would find something for the summer, but then… everything changed when Covid arrived.
I distinctly remember the day students received the email from President Krislov that we would be leaving campus. People were packing up that same day, getting in their cars, and racing away. For some, it was a relief; they were afraid to be on campus, but for others, they were stressed since Pace was more of a home to them than where they reside. This was the case for a couple of my friends. Getting an internship, though I tried, was virtually (see what I did there?) impossible. My spirits were still high however. I was in constant contact with Tori from Career Services, and she helped me be at ease, stating I would definitely get an internship before I graduated.
Fall semester 2020 rolls by, and still no internship; my hope was starting to dwindle. But then, one day, I was scrolling through Instagram, and thankfully Pace’s MCVA page posted a picture that was the answer to my prayers. “NEED AN INTERNSHIP? COMMUNICATIONS INTERNSHIP FOR DYSON- APPLY NOW!” My fingers couldn’t type fast enough as I was applying for this internship. All I needed were some writing examples, a letter of recommendation, and availability for an interview. I was so blessed that I was able to get all of that due to my previous coursework I’ve had from all of my public relations and communications classes.
I contacted Angela Nally, the Assistant Dean for Communications and had my Zoom interview with her at the end of my fall semester. Using my interview skills I’ve learned through the years (again, shoutout to Career Services who hold many mock interviews and programs), I felt like I completely aced that interview.
My tip to you, is to look up the job or internship description, and have experiences or stories ready for each bullet. For example: “knows how to manage time effectively”, mention how you color code your calendar, or use your planner, etc! Anticipate the questions and have the answers ready. If you are blessed with being super good on your feet, by all means do your thing, but even someone like me (who thinks they are good at winging it) needs to prepare for an interview. You can also Google “top interview questions” and jot down points you want to discuss.
Though many might be hesitant to perform an online interview, I assure you it is not that scary. If anything, you can have sticky notes near or above your camera to mention key points! This is a huge advantage, and something that helped me with my online interviews I’ve been a part of. Also, make sure you look presentable (from the waist up at least) and you don’t have anything too distracting in your background; virtual backgrounds are great for this reason. Most importantly, be yourself! People can tell if you are comfortable or not. I love to break the ice; it instantly makes a stranger an acquaintance!
If there is one thing I would like to tell my fellow Setters who are nervous or worried about getting an internship be that virtual or in person, it’s this: do not stress it! Reach out to people who can help you, and at Pace there are SO many people who can, and want to help! This can be professors, counselors, advisors etc. I know I sound like a Career Services spokeswoman, but Career Services is literally your best friend; they are with you from the second you step foot on campus to the day you graduate and beyond. Hopefully this helps at least one person, that’s my goal. The internship search can be stressful at times for sure, but knowing what your resources are and with some help from others along the way it is way more manageable!
About the Author: Emiliana Hokr is a senior communications major at Pace University. She lives in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Emiliana is the Communications Intern for Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Her hobbies include taking care of her new miniature australian shepherd Koda, going to the gym, and practicing mindfulness.