Upperclassmen impart insights on internships

Upperclassmen can be a valuable resource for underclassmen seeking insights on internships, providing guidance on the complex world of professional experience.

As the world becomes increasingly competitive, the importance of internships for high school students cannot be understated. Not only do they offer hands-on experience in a chosen field, but they also provide a great opportunity for students to network with professionals and learn about specific fields. However, finding and securing an internship can be a daunting process to navigate. Global sophomore Jaden Hou, co-founder of Poolesville Hacks, has expressed his confusion about the process of obtaining an internship.

“I don’t know where to start,” said Hou. “I think the best internships are from cold emailing, but that requires a lot of drive and ambition to conjure one out of nowhere.”

Fortunately, Poolesville High School’s seniors have a wealth of experience and advice to offer underclassmen looking to secure internships. SMCS senior James Xu, who worked as an artificial intelligence and machine learning engineer intern, was able to share his insights.

“Networking is a huge part of finding a real internship,” said Xu. “I was able to talk to various professionals in the computer science field from coding competitions, and I asked around.”

Networking can play a crucial role in securing internships for high school students, and involving family, friends, and teachers can be a helpful starting point. While they may not always have direct connections, they can offer advice and support during the internship search process, and humanities junior Abhaya Saridena has been able to work in research and hands-on internships.

“I talked to my parents about finding an internship for the summer,” said Saridena. “They suggested I should reach out to local offices, and it was surprising how open people are to teaching high school students.”

Students can also take advantage of social media platforms such as LinkedIn to expand their professional network. LinkedIn allows students to connect with professionals in their field of interest, join relevant groups, and engage in industry discussions. Students may also reach out to local universities and businesses to learn from professors. While it may require drive and ambition, cold emailing can lead to valuable opportunities. With just one response, an internship can be acquired. Xu emphasized the importance of reaching out to professionals in the field, even if it may seem intimidating.

“Just ask,” said Xu. “The worst they can do is say no, and you’ll never know until you try.”