An Academic Internship from a Student Perspective

Weixi Liu Headshot Edited

Submitted by Weixi Liu, Graduate Assistant of Center for Career & Life Planning

This week we are highlighting a student who is currently involved in an academic internship. Sharon De Andrade was interviewed by the Center for Career & Life Planning to gain some insight into the student perspective of an academic internship and hopefully shed some light for future students who are interested in pursuing an academic internship during their time at Rollins College.

Q: What is your major and how did this internship relate?

A: I am majoring in Environmental Studies and my internship is based on community outreach and organizing volunteer events that promote environmental stewardship and conservation of our community’s natural resources.

Q: What does your internship site do?

A: My internship site protects and manages Orange County’s natural resources through regulation and permitting. The Orange County Environmental Protection Division manages the following: air quality, water quality, hazardous waste generators, solid waste compliance, storm water pollution prevention, petroleum storage and management, and the preservation of natural lands.

Q: What were your personal responsibilities as an intern?

A: My personal responsibilities as an intern were to work with the volunteer coordinator in order to recruit, train and lead volunteers in environmental conservation projects. I also worked on educating students and the community on storm water pollution prevention through our storm drain labeling projects and the watershed model presentation.

Q: What did you learn or find enjoyable?

A: I learned more about an organization that I initially did not even know was based in Orlando. I enjoyed shadowing the other departments in order to have a better idea of how the processes of environmental protection work on a local level.

Q: Did this internship experience help solidify what you want to do in the future? Why or why not? How?

A: This internship experience solidified my desire to work towards conservation of our natural resources even more. It was great to be able to work in an organization within my field of study because it gives me an idea as to what kind of tasks I would be doing in my future career.

Hopefully, this short Q & A has provided some insight into the world of academic internships as told by the student. Not all internships are the same, but as students you have the opportunity to make the most of your academic internship and benefit from getting involved in the workforce even for a short period of time. The resources that you can gain as a student from an academic internship are immeasurable and the connections you make can help propel you into your desired career path.

Professional Communication vs. Personal Communication

Weixi Liu Headshot Edited Submitted by Weixi Liu, Graduate Assistant of Center for Career & Life Planning

You want to maintain professional at all times, especially your personal communication. When it comes to sending personal messages, proper behavior depends on the style and culture of the company in which you intern. Most companies don’t publish an official list of rules, but you can quickly learn the “unspoken” rules by careful observation.

Internships and personal communication

When it comes to sending personal messages, proper behavior depends on the style and culture of the company in which you intern. Most companies don’t publish an official list of rules, but you can quickly learn the “unspoken” rules by careful observation. Here are a few basic guidelines to help you when you start your internship:

  1. If in doubt—don’t. Until you’re sure what’s acceptable, err on the side of being conservative. Start by turning off your cell phone and putting it away when you enter the office.

  2. Tempted to use your iPad to browse the Internet while you’re waiting for a meeting to start? It would be much better to engage a co-worker in a conversation and find out more about the company or your assignments. Like to check an app on your iPhone to find out the weather? Better wait until you have a break.

  3. Socializing with other employees usually takes place before work, during lunch or break-time, and after work. When a company has a social function, make sure that you go and capitalize on that time set aside for social networking.

  4. You probably have MySpace and Facebook accounts to keep connected with friends. It’s better to keep these personal accounts separate from your work life. Make sure the accounts are private, so if an office mate Googles your name, they won’t find out more about your personal life than you would like.

  5. Many interns blog about their internships. (See the Eye of the Intern  blog A word of caution—be careful what you say or it could cost you your internship. You may have some humorous stories about what happened at work or you may want to vent about a problem in the office, but do that in person with a friend, not on your blog, where someone connected to your company might see it.
Blog Post: Sabatino, Colleen. [Internet]. 2014. Internships and personal communnication. Available from

Tips on Starting Your Own Business After Graduation

Julia - ThumbnailSubmitted by Julia Larson, Assistant Director of the Center for Career & Life Planning

If you are contemplating starting your own business after graduation, you have many choices and considerations ahead.  With tips to guide preparation, planning, and approach, Forbes offers valuable guidance for you budding entrepreneurs.

Best Business Advice For College Graduates

A lot of college graduates will start businesses this summer. Unfortunately, most of them will fail within a year. Here is advice that they can follow to give them their best chance at success.

  1. Work for a small business owner before you become one. Many college graduates are itching to get started in their own business. But, it is better to go work for an owner to get some experience before setting off on your
    own. It is also smarter to make mistakes on someone else’s money, instead of yours!
  2. It’s about the people, not the idea. Successful businesses are not about the idea, but about the execution of the idea. As a result, it is critical for you to go into business with people you know, like and trust. Remember, effective teamwork is one of the best competitive advantages in the marketplace.
  3. It takes a long time to be successful. Forget about being an Instagram or WhatsApp billionaire. Most “overnight” successes take seven to ten years. Build a value for customers and the cash will eventually come.
  4. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. No two days at a small business are the same. Get comfortable with things changing day to day and not knowing what comes next. Many people start a business to get control over their life. This is an illusion since you can never control what happens in the market place, but only control how you respond.
  5. There isn’t always something to learn from failure…Read more.
Blog Post: Aileron. [Internet]. June 2014. Best Business Advice For College Graduates. Available from

Challenge Yourself in Your Internship

Weixi Liu Headshot Edited Submitted by Weixi Liu, Graduate Assistant of Center for Career & Life Planning


Asking for bigger challenges

By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach

Your interest in taking on more responsibility should generate better assignments; plus, you’ll learn more new skills. And when you finish your internship, you’re sure to receive rave recommendations. Here’s how to ask for more challenges at your internship:

  1. Make sure you’ve done a great job on the assignments that you’ve completed. Can you document that you’ve finished all your responsibilities ahead of time and exceeded expectations? Your ability to demonstrate why you should have more challenges impresses your boss. He/she will know you take your internship seriously and want to add value to the company.

  2. Be careful not to belittle any efforts by other interns or even co-workers who may be performing the same tasks as you. Choose your language carefully when your boss asks why you want more responsibility. Instead of using words like “boring,” or “repetitive” to describe your dissatisfaction with your assignments, explain that you want to do more to develop your skills and to help the company reach its goals. You may even add that you’re willing to continue your original assignments but want more challenging work in the company, even if it means working longer hours.

  3. Do some research before you approach your boss. In other words, be careful what you ask for because you might get it. You can ensure that your new tasks will be ones that you’ll enjoy if you have participated in selecting them. Also, you’ll be much more successful if you pick fresh challenges that showcase your talents. If you’re excellent at research, ask if you can work on a research project. If you’re a computer whiz, suggest an assignment in that area. Prepare a brief report, outlining potential new challenges along with goals and timelines. How can your boss say no?
Blog Post: Sabatino, Colleen. [Internet]. 2014. Asking for bigger challenges. Available from

How to Utilize the Center for Career & Life Planning

Julia - ThumbnailSubmitted by Julia Larson, Assistant Director of the Center for Career & Life Planning

What you can do during a visit to the Center for Career & Life Planning?  A quick trip to the career services website will familiarize you with the wide variety of programs and services available through the CCLP – but did you know that Rollins Alumni have access to services for life?

This article from The Proactive Professional digs deeper into career development strategies and offers tips on optimizing your time with career development staff members.

Top 5 Tips for Utilizing Your University’s Career Services–from a Career Coach

I often hear complaints from new college graduates that career services didn’t get them a job.  Something many students don’t understand is that career development centers are not placement organizations.  Career services professionals are there to help provide you with the tools to figure out what you want to do professionally and how to best market yourself for the job search.  With that being said, here are my top tips for effectively utilizing the career services offered at your university.ccoach

Keep in mind: career service professionals are not there to give you a job or place you in a job.

Consider this: if you wanted to get married in the next few years, would you really want a dating service to handpick your future spouse, or even give you a half dozen to choose from? Perhaps that sounds better than going out on dozens of blinds dates, but really think it through.  Before you can have a successful relationship, you must have a deep understanding of who you are (your likes, dislikes, needs, deal breakers, future goals, etc.) as well as the necessary tools to make a relationship great (trust, open communication, intimacy, etc.).

In the same way, career development offices are here to help you figure out the kinds of careers you’re interested in based on your values, interests, and personality and how to pursue those careers.

Think about what you’d like to get from your meeting before the appointment. 

Many times, I’ve had students come in and ask for their resumes to be critiqued.  Twenty minutes later, they admit that they’re unsure of their major or feel they need practice interviewing.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having several needs, but it will make easier for everyone if you consider what those needs are before heading into your career coaching session.  We don’t always realize we have more than one issue and that’s completely fine.  If you can, though, consider how you’d like your career adviser to help and what areas you feel need the most attention.

Realize that career development is a process…Read more.

Blog Post: [Internet]. June 2013. Top 5 Tips for Utilizing Your University’s Career Services–from a Career Coach. Available from .

Let’s prep for an interview, shall we?

mackenzieSubmitted by Mackenzie Thomas
Center for Career & Life Planning Marketing Assistant

One of the main concerns that plagues most college students’ minds is “How do I prepare myself for an interview?” Sometimes you have plenty of time to prepare a pitch and practice your interviewee skills, but other times you receive notice so quickly that your interview is right around the corner! What do you do now?! Never fear, there are plenty of ways and resources that can aid in your quick turnaround, specifically the one I have highlighted for you this week. In the blog posting below, you can learn how to quickly and effectively improve your communication skills in time for a short-notice interview. So take a look and get moving!

How to improve communication skills in time for an interview

Posted on Experience by Simplicity by Veronica C.

As the number of college graduate jobs begins to grow, so too does the quality of potential applicants. With competition heating up, it’s worth your time to work on a highly overlooked skill: communication. Practice these tips to improve your abilities in the interviewing environment and land your first job.

Don’t talk over people
It’s hard sometimes when you’re in a conversation to not talk over the other person. What’s being discussed coulBlog Picd be very exciting or thought-provoking, and you just want an opportunity to contribute. Before you know it, you start blurting out your thoughts before your partner is done speaking. Now imagine you did that in an interview with a recruiter. Unfortunately, it’s a real problem that people have on a daily basis. It may be unintentional, but it’s still very to interrupt someone when they’re talking, even if they’re asking you a question. By talking over them you’re conveying a sense of apathy for what they’re telling or asking you. You make it seem like what you have to say is far more significant. Next time you’re in a conversation with someone, make a conscious effort to pause and let them finish their thought before contributing. By the time your first interviews come around, you’ll be a well-oiled polite machine.

Ask more questions
At its core, a significant conversation…Read more


Blog Post: C., V. [Internet]. April 2014. How to improve communication skills in time for an interview. Available from

Make This School Year Your Best Yet

mackenzieSubmitted by Mackenzie Thomas
Center for Career & Life Planning Marketing Assistant

It’s that time again when everyone has survived Add/Drop week and they’re finally settling into the new fall semester with high hopes for the year to come. With this being my last and final year at Rollins College, I have set out to make this year count and make it my best year as of yet. That being said, there are so many ways that could make this year count for more than the others. How, you ask? By setting out to do things differently, and by that, I mean taking initiative. How does one do so? By doing some research (ugh.) and taking on new projects (eek!). I recently came across this short blog posting about “creating a leadership role for yourself at school” and I snagged it here for you all to read.

Creating a Leadership Role for Yourself at School

It sounds terrifying, I know, but by partaking of the array of advantages and opportunities that Rollins provides, it allows us to graduate saying, “Hey, I can put that on my resume.” Be honest. Is your resume sitting there pitifully on your desk with a huge white (or eggshell, if you got fancy with it) gap on it from lack of involvement/experience/internships?? Well, these tips can help inspire you to make this year better than the last and prepare you for your future post-Rollins life. Now, don’t get me wrong, as a senior I’m taking the last little sliver I have left to create something bigger, but that doesn’t mean this advice is strictly for upperclassmen. No, no, no. The earlier you begin, the faster you can begin the next thing, and the next. And you’ll soon discover that this is how Rollins works. Everyone is always synchronously moving along to next big thing, whether that is running for a Student Government position or hosting a booth outside of the Campus Center. Everything here matters and it takes an army (or just a bunch or Rollins students) to do them. Are you motivated, yet? Well, if you aren’t, then I have just the thing for you. A BuzzFeed Quiz! So take the quiz, have a laugh, and get on out there.

Will This Be Your Best School Year Ever?

Blog Post: C., V. [Internet]. 2014. Creating a leadership role for yourself at school. Available from .

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