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Starting Your Career or Seeking an Internship: Seek Answers Where You Have the Most Questions

I met with a young college student recently to talk about how best to utilize the summer – specifically, internships. 2018 marks 13 years since I started the co-op program at Georgia Tech. Since then, I have been fortunate to pivot my career to what I do (and love) now including working with young interns.

My tips:
  • Early years (college, pre-college, early 20s, etc.) should be geared towards learning. Most students do not have much real-world working experience. Yet, our lives beyond college means we must work to constantly put food on the table. Prioritizing learning early on enables students to identify what one enjoys early on, as well as what one does not enjoy.
  • Be courageous – it’s okay to fail. It’s advantageous to build a foundation of putting one’s self out there (e.g. reaching out to idols, learning to code, etc.). Being courageous even “a little bit” can create a habit for the future.
  • Seek answers where you have the most questions. In the case of the student, she was considering two different paths – one in healthcare, one in development. It can be difficult to choose a path for the summer when both offer unlimited opportunities/ benefits. I advised her to opt for the path she has the greatest questions about. Again, it’s okay to fail and pivot, especially early on in life where there is less risk.
  • Start developing your WHY and your PURPOSE. I’m a fan of Simon Sinek’s message to understand what drives people. This will be nebulous for most young folks, but it’s a great place to start building self-awareness.
Everything can seem new and confusing early on for this young student. It’s all a process. Take a deep breath. Now is the time to cultivate never-ending curiosity.

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