By Maisarah Mijar
After years of living, knowing alphabets in kindergarten, playing sports hard enough during elementary school, trying not to fail Mathematics in high school, and finally getting into the university (and even before enrolling into the university), you probably have already set a goal you want to achieve upon graduating.
No doubt, you would want to pick the best employer to seek a successful career later in your life. Internship attachment would give you the kind of aura and the experience you are looking for before you set foot in job proper.
Year by year the demands of the industry might have change with the time. Hence, you need to adjust your goal so that you would get an internship attachment at a place that you would gain the best of exposure and experience.
Most students when talking about internship they would first say “it is scary”, even though the place that they intend to do internship is the one that they are eyeing for, but “scary” is bound to be followed by “contentment”.
In my opinion, the first word that came out of the weighing burden, and the fear of failing the employer and achieving contentment, is when they have experienced satisfaction in their work environment.
Preparation for internship therefore plays a crucial part as you learn to step outside your comfort zone for the first time after three to four years of cramping your head in the university where you only get to see familiar faces. It is time that reality hit you and not everything is going to be monitored by your favourite lecturer anymore.
Moreover, you will have to get yourself ready to undergo internship that suits the industry demands. Hence, if you are going for internship attachment soon, ideally speaking, you must prepare yourself from head to toe!
To gauge the industry’s expectation currently, particularly in the business of communication, I recently interviewed three IIUM final year Communication students who had gone through their internship at different locations. They were glad to share their experiences with would-be interns.
The three I am referring to are: Syahir Luqman (public relations) who did his internship at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA); Ibrahim Hajjar, (electronic media) at eGG Network under Astro, and Nur Atiqah Ismail (journalism) at Astro Awani.
Atiqah Ismail shared that Communication students should already know by now on how to engage, convince and persuade people as “it will be difficult for you if you are still staggering in trying to communicate with people”.
“Participating in activities conducted by entities such as IIUM.fm, IIUMToday, COMMTv, Secretariat of Communication (COSA) and the Institute of Public Relations Student Association (IPRMSA) will be very useful to develop leadership and communication skills and this would help students to develop their confidence.”
Ibrahim Hajjar confidently said that there were nothing much for him to get prepared for internship as he has sharpened his skills while being involved in IIUM.fm and COMM Tv. The campus experience in itself has helped him to function well during his internship.
“If you are the kind of person who hate reading and socialising, then, you better ditch that habit and start reading now,” Ibrahim advised, adding that “you should start taking interest in the kind of job you would be doing and be more aware of your surrounding. “This is indispensable because your employer would look for work that is rich in value and creativity.”
Atiqah has this experience to share: “The reason I advise juniors to read, read, read and read a lot is because the working environment is really fun and healthy. I have a number of colleagues from various backgrounds who are helpful but your work will stand alone. So, the ideas have to be original and raw. No one can help you with that except you yourself and that is achieved by reading.”
For Syahir, the basic thing is that “when you are choosing a place for internship you should know the background of the organisation, the structure and the nature of business it is doing”. He said that this is to avoid from anxiety that might create conflict as to how one should approach his or her task in the organisation.
“To succeed one must start preparation from now and not to procrastinate. Start getting yourself involved in various platforms that are provided by the university or the Kulliyyah and department that give you great opportunity to improve yourself in terms of socialisation and various skills, including confidence building.”
The advice from these interns is for their juniors to start building their resume or CV by participating in clubs and societies activities and programmes as the employer does not only look at their CGPAs alone, but their credibility as an individual.
Atiqah added, “It is not for us to change the industry demands, but as a student with a strong vision and always proactive, it is our duty to fulfil what the industry wants from us because what affects the demand is actually none other than society itself, and we are a part of them.
Hence, what is doable on our part is to work hard, read a lot and be prepared with various skills and knowledge. Having done that, the rest we have to leave to the employer to evaluate our performance.” ***