My name is Alex and I'm a rising junior, psychology major, and writing minor. Here at Oxy, we have an amazing program called InternLA, which I am lucky enough to be a part of for the summer. InternLA is a pretty prominent part of the internship opportunities at Oxy, so I wanted to tell a bit about how it has been so far.
To apply to InternLA you have to submit a resume and a cover letter to two of the InternLA sites (with the help of revision by our career counselors). These sites range greatly in focus, covering six sectors: science, business, advocacy, politics, media, and the performing arts. After you submit your resume and cover letter, you (hopefully) get called in for an interview by the companies, and if all goes well, you'll be hired by one of them! I was lucky enough to be hired by an organization that I adore, Planned Parenthood.
Being picked for InternLA is both exciting and scary. Exciting, because you get paid $4,000 over 10 weeks of working full time and get real and relevant work experience; but scary, because you have to find a place to live, find a way to get to work every day, budget your money, make all your own meals, and basically put on a Real Adult costume for the summer. Luckily, tons of Oxy students stay near campus during the summer, so within a few weeks I had found a roommate who is a close friend from Oxy, and we found a room to sublet from another Oxy student for the summer. With a little work, I also found a bus line that goes straight to my work, and I was set.
Now, every day, I get to go and be paid to work for an organization that I love. My Planned Parenthood internship has sent me to Sacramento for Planned Parenthood's Capitol Day, sent me to conferences, and to community events all before I was six weeks in. I've gotten to make signs for rallies, do opposition research (reading about attitudes towards women health in '70s newspapers was truly fascinating), shadow educators weekly, create sexual health education presentations for college students, and lots of other projects that did not include getting coffee for someone or scanning papers as one might expect of a 20-year-old's summer internship. My work at Planned Parenthood is directly relevant to my interests and career goals, and I'm getting paid to do it! That's a college junior's dream.
Every Friday, the InternLA cohort meets for Impact Sessions, which provide both a support system of other interns to rely on, and also help to develop our career goals and strategies. These sessions have helped me figure out what I want in a career, but also given me practical skills, like helping me build a LinkedIn account. The career counselors at these sessions have helped me to use this experience as a building block for when I leave Oxy and need to find a job, helped to soothe the fear that we all feel when we think about graduation.
In college, there are many times where you feel like you'll never have enough experience to take on the world outside college (two years experience needed for an entry-level position? What?!). There are times where you feel alone, like you're the only one struggling. There are times where you're barely getting paid and wonder how you'll make ends meet after graduating, wonder if you'll ever get to do work that you actually love. InternLA has given me some solace from these stresses, and hope for the future.