Getting Your Feet Wet
October 28, 2009
This entry features ECS graduate advisor, Dan Lamone, who is also pursuing his masters degree in chemical engineering at OSU...
Aside from those long-ago lackadaisical summer breaks, think back to the last time you weren't in school. You were likely gearing up for the alphabet in preschool. In a few short years, you'll be graduating and making the transition to a full-time career after spending some 18+ years in school.
It will be an exciting time! However, understanding the differences between academia and the working world requires experience. For example, you can read up on swimming for months and even take a class from Michael Phelps, but swimming will be a foreign concept until you actually take a dip in the pool.
Internship and co-op experiences provide invaluable insight, both positive and negative, about your career choices, major(s), and fields of interest. You may discover during your internship that consumer product design, project engineering, or research (or something else entirely) is a perfect fit for you. In my case, my R&D career interests spawned directly from a fascinating internship with the Department of Energy. Unfortunately, some students have a poor experience and question their career and major choices...should this happen to you, don't lose hope. Come talk to us before making any decisions about your career path.
On a lighter note, normally internships are a positive experience. We have binders full of student evaluations that honestly and thoroughly describe their internship and co-op successes. It's worth your time to stop by and take a look at these while job searching. For those of you considering grad school, undergraduate research can help you test the waters in addition to work experience.
With your feet wet, you can be ready to take the plunge when the time for full-employment comes.
"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson."
Authored by an ECS guest.