A different type of experience

Hannah Schindler

There are many ways to spend your summer days. Last summer was my second summer working as a camp counselor. Most would think this is just like every other hourly job where you show up, work for eight hours and then leave, but it’s so much more.

Yet, instead of working at a summer camp, most students want to pick up an internship over the summer. About 75 percent of students at four-year schools have at least one internship, and this percentage has doubled since the early 1980s, according to Business Insider.

Professors stress how important it is to apply for internships and how it will help you get a job when you graduate. Students are even willing to work for free to get that experience, that one little boost that will put them over someone else.

This free labor could become a great internship or it could just be bringing your boss coffee and not really getting any valuable experience. Some people are willing to do that just so they can say they had this great internship when all it consisted of was getting their boss coffee and doing busy work all summer.

On the other hand, being a camp counselor is a great job to have for the summer. You become a role model to these children, people they look to when they are learning how to act and who they should become. You really can’t “learn” that from an internship. An internship is good to get experience in your field of study, but they can’t “teach” you how to be a leader and a role model.

Another thing you learn is how to be patient. One time the campers were learning how to make friendship bracelets. There were a lot of campers and only one of me so this became much more difficult than I had originally thought. They kept asking questions–mostly the same question– and you have to be patient and try to teach them how to loop the bracelet and pull the string. Sitting in an office can’t “teach” you how to be patient.

It can be a long, hot, tiring day, but the look on the campers’ faces when they tell their parents all the fun things they did at camp today makes it all worth it. You are creating memories for these children. You cannot get this much satisfaction so quickly by sitting in an office.

It also gives you a perspective outside of your major. I would never have thought that working as a counselor would be something I would ever want to do, but it is so rewarding and fun seeing the campers excited to come back the next day. Internships are great, but students should try something else. In doing something you would never expect to like, you might just gain something that you cannot get from an internship.