Have you faced the dreaded question yet? What do you plan do after high school? Do you feel you’re not ready to answer that yet? Do you wish you had a crystal ball to look far ahead into the future? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. The good news is that, if you’re still in middle school or not yet in high school, you still have time to decide!

There are plenty of ways to explore your interests and various career fields before you take the leap and commit to a certain program or college major. By Grade 9, you will need to work on choosing subjects that narrow down your options in a direction down the path you will take in high school and later, to college. One way to do this efficiently is to work on internships.

Internships are a great way for high school students to gain work experience, learn about professional opportunities, and network within career and academic fields. Today, we will discuss what that involves and why no teenager should waste any summer or winter without one.

What Is an Internship and How Does It Work?

An internship is your chance to work in a real work environment. Sometimes, it’s paid (on the lower side) and sometimes, unpaid. This gives you a chance to gain some work experience and gain some insight into a career you may have considered pursuing in the future. For example, if you want to be a PE coach, working for a school, observing the PE faculty might be a good idea.If you wish to get into medicine, shadowing a doctor in a hospital or clinic is a great idea. Sometimes, you won’t have any actual projects to do, but just being in that workspace, watching what the people do and the work involved in their day to day functioning will give you a sense of whether you want a career in this field or not.

How does it help?

There are short-term and long-term benefits of doing internships.

Short Term Benefits :

  1. As a high-school student, this means you can go beyond what you learn in school and get a slice of real life, being out there to make yourself productive in the real world. This is, in itself, a hugely exciting feeling.
  2. Internships can help you realise whether you want to pursue certain career goals or not. Sometimes, you might have preconceived notions about some jobs. Working in companies and institutions can open your eyes to realising this is not what you might have wanted. This can be a good way to choose your subjects in high school, then in college.
  3. Working in different sectors can help you analyse different career paths and you can then have a clearer vision for your academic path ahead. Goals are always better when articulated on the basis of research and information. An internship can be a first-hand way of doing this.
  4. For college applications, if you have fabulous grades but have demonstrated that you’ve used your holidays and breaks wisely to explore your interests, your profile is guaranteed to stand out. This is particularly true if you have pursued internships in your area of passion.

Long Term Benefits :

  1. Network, network, network! Remember, the more professional people you meet, the more you learn. The more you interact with them over work, the more likely you are that they’ll remember you, especially when it comes to writing those all important recommendation letters!
  2. How to behave professionally is something we all learn. Why not start young? This can be a big advantage for you when you eventually enter the workforce. Learn by observing how people communicate with each other, how they speak in public at meetings and how they handle conflict at the workplace. These are all invaluable skills for you to absorb.
  3. When you’re down with a couple of internships, watch how your entire view of the world changes, as also your view of yourself. The self-confidence a student can gain from working is immeasurable!

So what are you waiting for?! Get that application out now!

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