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The Rigors and Rewards of Internships by Eliot Levine

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    Ben Smith

A world of learning opportunities lies just outside your school.

Until Rachel's internship week with a psychiatric clinic, her main career goals were business school and a high salary. After overcoming her initial fears, she helped the director run support groups and spent a night working at the emergency shelter. Surprised by her passion for human service, she volunteered at the clinic for several months and is now in college studying psychiatric nursing.

A hands-on learner who loved engines and power tools, Jesse interned with an orchard equipment supplier and spent months refurbishing an industrial sprayer that his mentor then sold for a $4,000 profit. Jesse's final presentation, which transcended the verbal and organizational challenges outlined in his individualized education plan (IEP), showed deep understanding of complex mechanical processes. After high school graduation, he began paid employment with the equipment supplier three days a week while completing a demanding paramedic course at a local community college.

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What stories can you share of internships and service learning? Have you experienced the benefits of an internship? Tell us your stories in the comments below.