Internships give students learning experiences

Senior prepares for teaching career


Photo submitted

The three seniors in the internship program learn about nonverbal communication before they experience one-on-one interviews.

Erin O'Neill, Reporter

“It can open doors, that’s kind of remarkable,” Business Department Chair Ms. Jean Kesterson said of the department’s internship class.

Internship selection

Senior Riley Wunder, a member of the three-person, all-senior internship class, described the course as “quite literally an internship.” The course meets during both F and G periods, and Wunder described that each student in the class is required to complete a set number of hours at an internship location he or she has chosen.

Wunder explained that a member of his family, Jacob Wunder ’14, served as his inspiration for taking this class. He said, “My older brother took this class and told me all about it.” Wunder also added that the course has been something he had been looking forward to since the beginning of the school year.

While Wunder is not yet certain where he will intern, he knows the direction he would like to go. He said, “It’s not for sure where I’m going to be completing my internship yet, but I believe it is between St. Matthew or St. Lawrence. I will be interning as a teacher.”

One of the biggest parts of the course is discovering what students want to do beyond high school, according to Kesterson. She said that for several students in the past, interning at their respective locations has helped reaffirm or switch their plans for the future. “It’s good because then they can change their major (in college) and not spend all of that extra money,” she said.

Wunder said, “At the time I signed up for this class, I was thinking about going into business, but I had a change of heart and knew I was supposed to be a teacher. I was scared because I didn’t think (an internship) was going to work with teaching, but it did and it has.”

The process

However, before students begin their internships, other elements have to be put into place.

Kesterson said, “Right now we are going through some things that the state says we have to cover, like resumes. We have to go through the interview process, we have to look at jobs because right now, for example, your grandparents were in a job and that’s exactly what they did, but now it’s a job path, a career path. It’s a journey, not one straight path. Sometimes it’s a hike, sometimes it’s scenic, and sometimes you are just trying to get up that hill.”

Not only are the students gaining real-world experience through their internships, but they are also learning other skills that will serve them well in their future careers. Wunder said, “We have been working on making our resumes the best they can be. Ms Kesterson is taking care of the paperwork and background checks on the people and places we are doing our internships at. So far, we have taken multiple personality quizzes, skills quizzes and have done research about the areas we are interested in pursuing. We will be setting up a LinkedIn account as well that we will be able to use forever.”

Kesterson also explained that the rotating schedule has presented some challenges in regards to the class because of the various meeting times.

However, she said, “I think its well worth the effort. Sometimes in your career it’s going to be tough to manage everything; you just have to find a way. I think time management is going to be of vital importance for the students in internships this spring.”

While students don’t necessarily need to have availability in both F and G periods, Kesterson said, “It is helpful unless there are opportunities for working weekends or later (in the day). You have to get the hours done.”

The rotating schedule that has been implemented in recent years may have have prevented the course from being offered, but Kesterson is certain it will be just as impactful this time around. She said, “We’ve had such a demand (for the class) and it was such a positive experience. For most of the kids, not all, but for most of the kids it was life-changing.”

However, students will get out of it what they put into it. “It is hard, it does take work, it does take effort, just like the real world does. It is a real-world experience,” Kesterson said.

Future benefits

Kesterson also explained how valuable internships can be on college campuses.

She said, “(Internships) have become huge part of getting jobs because it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and that’s even more prevalent now with networking and social media.”

Wunder added, “It will be very beneficial for my future because as a senior in high school, I am getting hands on work experience with the area I am going to go into. It will really show me the ropes and will be a glance as to what it would be like to be a teacher.”

Wunder also expressed his hopes for the future of the internship class.

Although students cannot take the course until the second semester of their senior year, he said, “I hope it becomes more popular and more students take it, and juniors, sophomores and freshmen should look into taking this class. I feel as if not many people even know about it, which is a bummer. This class is nothing but beneficial, and I’m lucky I get to take part in it.”