Internships also provide on-the-job training that you won’t get in the classroom. Working in newsrooms I was able to start learning what the industry was like, whether it was something I wanted to do, and to start building a portfolio I could use when I needed to find a graduate job.
Not every job or internship was glamorous, of course. I certainly did my fair share of bad ones. There were the 3am starts for a radio show, the one where I packed and shipped hundreds of magazines, and tried to run social media campaigns on topics no one cared about. But I knew journalism jobs can be hard to come by, so I did what I thought was necessary to succeed. Coupled with a strong work ethic instilled by my parents, and the determination not to fail (or dumbness not to have much of a social life), I pushed on.
During each opportunity, I got a taste of tight deadlines of a few hours, working alongside other journalists, accountability for my workload and time management, and – perhaps most importantly – what it’s like to share a fridge with 50 other people.
And the hard work paid off. Months away from completing my degree, The Sydney Morning Herald offered eight cadetships. More than 700 people applied for these roles, including some of my classmates.
I was lucky and joined the Herald in November 2018. While a lot of that came down to good fortune, I am convinced that without the endless internships, jobs and missing out on nights out, there is no way I would have been considered.
Even now, my greatest advice to students is to take every opportunity that comes your way. Being at university is all about opportunity and finding out what you want to do.
So why not take those chances to test if you’re doing the right degree? To make invaluable contacts that will help you later on in life, and to help you stand out when the graduate job hunt begins?
But make sure you make time to squeeze fun in.
Laura Chung is an environment reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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