By: Will Peasley
When coming to a university like UW-Madison a lot of emphasis is placed on academics. Questions can come up like, am I going to be able to do well in my classes and get a good GPA? While these are important concerns I want to focus on another aspect of your college experience that is just as important. Internships are a great opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
As a freshman I applied for an internship with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). I went into the interview process not knowing what to expect and was really nervous. I used CALS career services as a resource in order to prepare for my interview. As a result, I was able to interview with confidence and was fortunate enough to get the internship position. My advice is to start looking for internships that interest you early and often. Once you have found an internship that you are interested in, you should take advantages of all the resources on campus and go for it!
I spent over a year at DATCP with the International Trade Team where I worked in a team to help increase Wisconsin’s agricultural exports. It truly was a great opportunity to get a hands on experience within the agricultural industry. One of the most valuable things about completing an internship is the networking that comes along with it. By talking with the people that you are working with you are able to get an inside look into what their job entails and you are exposed to careers that you might not have heard of otherwise. Another great thing about internships is that generally they are shorter in length. This is a benefit because it allows you to take a risk and try something new, knowing that you don’t have to make a career out of it. Sometimes the biggest thing that you can take out of an internship is figuring out what you DON’T want in a career.
While we are in school academics are always going to be the first priority, but keep your eyes open and keep pursuing internships that will continue to help you grow.