Internships prepare BJU students for careers

New coffee shop opens near campus
February 14, 2019
Students practice prayer and raise funds
February 21, 2019

Internships prepare BJU students for careers

David interns at Elliott Davis in Greenville, SC, Elliott Davis, Greenville, SC, February 18, 2019.

Over 360 BJU students are currently interning for academic credit.

These internships range from nursing to cross cultural service to sports management.

Interns are students who train in a specific field, sometimes with pay, depending on the work load and company. For most internships, students begin by handling light tasks and familiarizing themselves with the environment and the way the company runs.

Then, as the student shows initiative and capability, their responsibilities increase, and they gain real job experience to engage the training they have received in the classroom.

The time commitment for internships varies from 10 hours a week to a full-time job. Internships can be taken both during the academic year for required course credit and independently in the summer for experience or sometimes also for academic credit.

Jane Smith, director of Career Services, said there are several ways students can find internships. If the internship is required for academic credit, the department the student is enrolled in commonly helps students by recommending opportunities.

If the internship is not required but is a personal interest, the Career Services office has resources to help students find what they need, including contacts to take advantage of in the community.

All students can also access the online job board Career Central, where employers post internship opportunities. “Internships can give students experience in their field of study and an opportunity to network with professionals in their field of study,” Smith said.

Nationally, 50 percent of students who do an internship are offered a job at the same company. “At BJU, that percentage is even higher,” Smith said. “[I] encourage all students to think about an internship during their university years.”

Lily Simmons, senior journalism and mass communication major, said she is looking forward to gathering work samples for her portfolio at her internship at WYFF TV.

“In journalism, [a portfolio] is basically your resume,” Simmons said. “You show them a video of [yourself] doing different standups or interviews and that shows them what you can do.”

Although students can add class projects to their portfolio, an internship offers the opportunity to add more and better material. “I have a few class projects that are in my portfolio, but you get better with time,” Simmons said. “Now I have better skills and they have better cameras.”

In addition to giving her real-world experience, Simmons said her internship has defined her interests and solidified her desire to be in that field.

“I love just talking to everybody on the job, getting advice, just learning things I didn’t know about the job [and] figuring out I really do want to do this,” Simmons said. “Because you can’t really know until you experience it.”

Lauren Skrade, senior graphic design major, began an internship at ZWO Agency at the beginning of the 2019 spring semester. She said BJU prepared her very well for her internship.

“The graphic design program has really prepared me for real life application,” Skrade said. “It’s the same process: you have a deadline, you have to get it done by the deadline [and you can] ask questions along the way.”

Although certain degrees require internships, they are also available for other students just wanting hands-on experience. Ian Dyke, senior English education major, has completed two summer internships already and is considering a third for this summer.

Dyke said many college graduates will have done two to three internships by the time they have a degree.

“The more relevant work experience, the better, because it’s showing that other people thought you were desirable,” Dyke said. “If you graduate from college and you’ve never had a job, people are going to look at you a little like, ‘What have you been doing this whole time?’”

The amount of participation possible in an internship is usually directly tied to how proactive the student is.

“You have to be careful,” Dyke said, “because if you don’t show that you’re serious or that you want to keep taking on responsibilities, you end up being someone that makes copies and gets coffee, [but] if you impress people, internships can easily be turned into jobs.”

David Bell, a senior accounting major and full-time intern at Elliot Davis LLC, said that the future employment opportunity in an internship creates a great witnessing environment and a great way to make personal connections with others. Bell said he shares his faith with his coworkers by making his lifestyle be a testimony to God.

“The most enjoyable thing has actually been not the accounting side, but the personal side,” Bell said.