Student Sojourns Over Summer

Delia Rune

As summer approaches, many students are selecting internships to complete during their months off from school. Students have access to many different options for internships, and LASA students are able to choose whether they want to travel internationally, state-wide, or stay in Austin. They are also able to choose an internship related to the occupations they’re interested in going into, from STEM to fine arts. These internships have provided students with a way to get more involved with communities and pursue what they truly love.

These internships are usually many weeks and require strenuous work according to Junior Lily Prath. She said summer is one of the best times to do an internship. 

“I think summer is a good option because students just have a lot more free time and they’re able to keep up with it more,” said Prath. “ I think this is especially true for an internship that requires you to work every day.”

Senior Brynn Lampert did an internship last summer that she enjoyed. Her internship gave her the chance to work at a local hospital in Kenya. 

“Generally, we would arrive at the hospital at 8 a.m. and join the doctors on rounds,” said Lampert. “We would clean their bedrooms, give them their pills, or change their IVs.” 

Prath is currently doing an internship for an organization called Girl Start, which aims to empower girls into going into STEM fields. She believes this experience has taught her a lot of valuable lessons.

“Through this internship, I’ve learned how deeply these events that expose children to STEM careers can affect them,” said Prath. “For example, a lot of times, children walk in, and they’re kind of reluctant and scared to walk up and ask people to participate. But they always leave a lot more enthusiastic about the events and ask about going to more. So my internship really just taught me about how impactful that can be.”

According to Lampert, an internship can be a big learning experience. Lampert explained that at times, she learned as much from her fellow interns as she did from her teachers.

 “We learned a lot from those doctors, but it was also a teaching hospital,” said Lampert. “So some medical students from Nairobi were also there with us. They helped us a lot and were all much more educated than us.”

Lampert explained that summer internships can yield new skills from the experiences they provide outside of the classroom as well. She said that living in Kenya taught her a lot in addition to the hospital experience she gained.

“In the afternoons, we would do activities, like learning some Swahili,” Lampert said. “So by the end of the trip, I was talking to the patients in Swahili, which was awesome.”

Prath said that there are also practical challenges students can face at internships, especially if they are unfamiliar with the type of work they are expected to do. She said that she experienced this at her job.

“Working on a small company means there’s a lot of different things that I need to help out with—some that weren’t fully in my skill set,” said Prath. “So I have been learning how to do a lot more things, but it’s going to be beneficial in the long run.”

 However, Junior Anika Katta, who spent last summer working at the Austin Public Library, says that internship experiences can vary, and not all students have fun working their summer jobs. Katta said that internships can sometimes be boring or uninteresting.

“To be honest, it felt like school,” said Katta, “I would only have done it if I was getting paid.”

Students may complete internships to gain some knowledge about the subjects or fields they’re going into or are interested in. According to Lampert, for high school students, the easiest way to acquire real-world experience is often through these programs. 

“You can watch as many episodes of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ as you want, but nothing will ever prepare you for seeing that stuff in person,” said Lampert, “and that is definitely a huge shock.”

Prath agrees that internships come with a lot of benefits. Not only do they help you gauge what you find interesting, but they can also help you learn things you need to know for future jobs.

“In addition to just being something impressive to put on your resume, internships really give you an example of what real work is like,” said Prath. “It’s great to actually be in a workplace and be taught things by someone who knows a lot more than you.”

One of the hardest parts of an internship, according to Lampert, is leaving it behind at the end of summer. She said this was because she felt very connected to the people she met.

“It was really hard to leave because the people I met there were so similar to me. They were very adventurous—obviously, they went all the way to Kenya—and they were also interested in the same things I was because they were there for a medical internship too. So I just felt we had a lot in common,” said Lampert. “It was honestly really, really heartbreaking to leave because I was in love with what I was doing.”