From the President, Institutional News

Why A Terrible Internship May Be The Most Important One Of All

In her column for Forbes, Mariko Silver, president of Bennington College, discusses the valuable lessons students can glean from internships that go differently than they initially expected.

VT Statehouse Internship

"Of course, internships help students build their resumes and networks," writes Silver. "But more important than landing a job is helping a student figure out what job they want to land in the first place. Internships let students try on different fields and work environments while the stakes are low — better to learn early."

In addition to offering a new perspective on ill-fitting internships, Silver suggests key questions mentors, parents, and professors may ask their students to help them shift perspective find the long-term value hidden within their experiences, including:

  • When and where are the moments—in this internship, in class, while volunteering, or in day-to-day life — that you lose track of time because you were so (happily) engaged in your activities?  
  • Even if your life experiences seem all over the place — from babysitting to an office internship to practicing drums — can you identify throughlines in your values, strengths, and talents?