While they may be harder for us to find, internships and experiential learning opportunities are invaluable for arts students.
I came to Queen’s unsure of what I wanted to do post-undergrad, but secure in the knowledge I didn’t want to battle through any more math courses and that writing lab reports bores me.
My joint honours in English and Film are grounded by my love of the subjects, not their inherent job security. Despite the value I see in an arts and humanities education, I’m jealous of the confidence my peers in faculties like Engineering, Commerce, and even the Sciences, seem to have in their future job prospects.
Experiential learning is valuable for all students, regardless of program or career aspirations. Because many arts programs are less oriented towards specific careers than those like Engineering and Commerce, arts students can reap incredible benefits from networking in an internship and seeing the future of their arts degrees. Gaining experience in a field through an internship equally provides direction in an overwhelmingly broad world of potential career paths.
When I heard about the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP) I jumped at the opportunity to get paid work experience and explore potential career paths. Excited as I was, few internships on the QUIP job board appealed to me. Most were geared towards STEM or business students, and those that I was qualified for were limited in industry.
The QUIP program offers the ability to make your own internship by contacting a company you’re interested in and pitching the program to them—a process I’ll readily admit that I didn’t put enough effort into. Regardless, it was a little disheartening to see so few opportunities for students in the arts.
Ultimately, I got the opportunity to work on projects with the Career Services team through a Marketing and Communications internship with Student Affairs. Despite the team’s dedication, I had peers express they didn’t know you could do an internship as an Arts and Science student, or assume I was in Engineering when I told them I was on QUIP.
For their own well-being, students should be made aware of the internship opportunities available to them. More Arts and Science students engaging with QUIP could encourage the establishment of more arts-oriented internships.
Though my internship was an incredibly valuable experience for a multitude of reasons, the most valuable items I took away were the confidence, connections, and mentorship opportunities that accompanied the role, which serve me now and will continue to do so in the future.
Arts students should be encouraged to apply for programs like QUIP. Internships are how we ensure Queen’s graduates are prepared to solve the world’s greatest challenges, and to thrive in the workplace while doing so.
Kenzie is a fifth-year English and film student and one of The Journal’s Copy Editors.
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