Ever wonder what it is like taking the internship class at FIT? I have done it twice (once in my Associates degree and once in Bachelors), and will share a bit about it below!
Why take the internship class?
In New York State, work must be compensated. This means that you either need to be paid or receive credit in exchange for the work you do at an internship.
Receiving pay at an internship might take some advancement in your career or academics (they are more competitive) which leaves interning for credit as the usual starting place for some students. My first official internship was unpaid, which meant I had to take the FIT internship class to receive school credit while I did it. I had to work my part time job on the side, so it wasn’t ideal, but having it on my resume really did help me land future paid positions so I think it was a worthy tradeoff.
How do you get the internship?
Once registering for the class, you will meet with your internship counselor. This person will help you find a position and fill out the appropriate paperwork, but at the end of the day you will do all the legwork of applying, interviewing and co-ordinating. This is all part of the learning process too in my opinion, as it is pretty similar to what it’s like when you apply for a job outside of school. I’m a big fan of the FIT database of internships though, as it narrows down the field to companies looking to hire YOU!
What do you learn?
As you are required to spend 121 cumulative hours (this does vary depending on the exact internship class) on the “job site,” the actual class itself only meets 6 times over the semester as a touch base and career development opportunity. This means you spend about 10 hours a week (roughly a day and a half, but some people do more) at the office you intern in, and every third week or so you have the class.
In those 6 class meetings, you go over things like office etiquette, interviewing tips, resume workshops and sometimes have guest speakers. The instructor also has your back at your internship – if anything goes wrong, FIT can step in and help make things right. However this is rare and more insurance that you have a good experience than anything else.
Is it worth it?
Well, if your degree requires it, yes! And even if it doesn’t, taking the class can help you better determine what you are interested in while you are still in school, so after graduation you have a better picture of what you really want to do. Working for “free” can be tough sometimes, but it also forced me to try and get the most out of it possible. I asked lots of questions, did lots of snooping, and got a better idea of what actually happens in an office. Also, earning 3 credits while working was a fun change from instead sitting a classroom three hours a week for a semester.
Overall, the internship class at FIT was a good way to get my foot in the industry door, and gave me more confidence to search on my own. After interning my 4th semester (Sophomore year), I got an offer to intern at Guess in LA. I credit a lot of that to having the chance to add to my resume and improve my communication skills with the internship class. You never know what will lead to your next move!
Where do you want to intern?