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on Leading the Next Generation


5 Reasons Why a Post-College Internship Isn’t the End of the World

I asked Ashley, one of our spring interns, to do a blog post on her internship. She sent me these words below. I smiled as I read them. Hope you enjoy them as well.

In January, I had graduated from college with honors, was blessed with a spiffy car as a graduation gift, had a roof over my head with my family and an extroverted Maltese, and I started my spring internship with Growing Leaders. The internship was a great opportunity, and I had the privilege of working with inspiring leaders who were invested in this generation of students.

So why was I unhappy?

Graduates in Cap and Gown

Within a few weeks, I was struggling with depression. The momentum of the last 16+ years of school had come to a screeching halt. As I received wedding invitations by the pound and saw Facebook updates from friends who had full time jobs or were enrolled in graduate school, I felt like everyone else was moving ahead at warp speed and I was stalled, interning in my hometown and living with my parents.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how much a few short months would teach me about life, the workforce, and myself.

Five Reasons Why An Internship After College Is Not The End of the World:

  1. Knowing how to make a good pot of coffee is a basic life skill. College seniors all seem to theorize about doing something great in their career, but it usually begins with learning to execute small things first. Early tasks are less about showing talent and more about earning trust. I learned to take baby steps. Besides, many connections start over a cup of coffee.
  1. I was asked to do things I had no idea how to do. An internship is a great opportunity to adopt the mantra, “I might not know how to do that… but I can learn!” Important growth happens outside of your comfort zone. I learned the importance of using the word, “yet.” I haven’t mastered this…yet. The idea is huge. And an internship is an environment that’s often safer to make mistakes.
  1. I learned my “must haves, wants, and absolutely cannots”. After a few data entry heavy days, I quickly discovered that a career without human contact is an “absolutely cannot” for me. When I had the opportunity to test out a working environment, I was given the chance to learn what keeps me motivated.
  1. Internships often lead to full time jobs. Several of the full time Growing Leaders staff members were interns once upon a time. An internship is like a 12 week interview, giving your organization the opportunity to see what you’re like in the day to day. Even if a job doesn’t arise with the company you intern for, experience and positive references can make or break your job search.
  1. The number one reason why an internship after college is not the end of the world is because it is only the beginning of the world and your place in it. One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned during my time as an intern is to stop comparing my beginning with someone else’s middle or end. My internship has been a place where the stakes are low, and the return is high to really get ready for life.

To all my over-achieving, type-A peers out there, remember that good things take time. Trust that your hard work will pay off. An internship with an organization like Growing Leaders can change your life if you’re open to it.

Thanks Ashley, for your candid insights.

Know anyone who might enjoy a Fall Internship at Growing Leaders? It begins this August and ends in December. The deadline to apply is June 1. Have them fill out the simple form on our site:



  1. Ken Shepherd on May 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Ashley learned a lot, congratulations Ashley!! Recently I spoke with a young lady who works for a recruiter called the Hub Group and she said they have 50,000 resumes in their database. I said please tell me what you guys look for, top two things: Internships and work experience. Ashley is working on both!!

  2. Bartosz Żyła on August 8, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I have just finished an internship in Capgemini in Germany. It was the best experience for my as a fresh graduate.I found the internship on a new site It is a search engine for internships and jobs. Good place for students and young graduates looking to develop their career.

  3. sam on August 21, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Really interesting article! I appreciate your new idea. Thanks for sharing with us.

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5 Reasons Why a Post-College Internship Isn’t the End of the World