The Lasting Impact of an Internship

Today's a truly noteworthy day. For one, it's my birthday. Even more important, it's the DVD release date for the movie The Internship.

OK, so maybe today is more of a plain old Tuesday.

But as I celebrate my 38 years, I find myself reflecting on my life and career. And it's dawned on me that I do what I do for a living largely because of my first internship, which I landed during my early college days.

I worked as a sports reporter for The Press of Atlantic City. It was during that internship that I truly fell in love with writing, interviewing people and crafting stories.

While I no longer cover high school football games or write feature articles about southern New Jersey tennis players, many of the writing and general career lessons I learned back then have stuck with me. For instance, it's because of that internship that I know writing a crappy first draft is far better than staring at a blank screen and merely thinking about writing a great one.

After my official internship ended, I was kept on as a part-time reporter. The experience, writing clips and connections I gained over several years at that job helped me get my first full-time gig, which led to my next job and so on. The lesson: If you've recently secured an internship, take it seriously and soak up as much as you possibly can. You never know how impactful the experience could be.

For making the most of the opportunity, check out my previous post, 5 Tips for a Successful Summer Internship. The seasons might have changed, but the (hopefully) useful career advice remains the same.