by Vaida Kanhai
At a school like John Jay College of Criminal Justice, students need to work hard to find out about what internships are available.
The hands-on experience an internship provides students can help guide them towards careers they will choose later on in life. A lot of the students at John Jay, however, do not know of the internship opportunities provided by the school. The lack of exposure for internships geared towards certain majors is an existing issue within the campus.
Students who are unaware of the internship programs, or the internship office, will certainly not get involved in career-based internships. For students who go straight to classes and then straight back home, the matter of what internships exist rely solely on first-hand communication between the college and the student. Although some students may attend informational sessions John Jay hosts, other students are especially indifferent.
Deeranie Ramgobin, a third year Forensic Psychology major said, “I see mostly psych internships, but it’s because I’m doing one at the moment at the 9/11 museum, so I purposely ignore the others for now, but I will be doing more psych internships in the future.” For some students, they are more aware of what internships are provided and jump at the chance of anything related to their area of study. However, not all students fit within the Forensic Psychology demographic, so the internships Ramgobin is aware of would not be relevant to these other students.
While some students have little difficulty finding internships for their major, others really have to work hard.
“If you don’t look for them, you’re not going to find opportunities,” said Oscar Polanco, a third year English major. “You have to put in your own research, otherwise you won’t find them.”
If students are having difficulty finding internships within the school, perhaps the issue isn’t the lack of opportunities, but the lack of communication. In order to apply for internships, students must be educated on what internships are available.
“Nobody talks about it or anything,” said Analisa Gouveia, a third year Forensic Psychology Major. “You get information from either the emails, the job fairs, or the professors; that’s it.”
Although the students are on the receiving side of information for some opportunities, the information does not get across to all students. Some students fail to check their John Jay email addresses, where these emails are being sent out to, and others do not take interest or any part in job fairs that occur on campus grounds.
“People have approached me and told me about job fairs happening and I’ve seen flyers about internships; however, most don’t specifically target an English major, but it doesn’t affect me as much because I’m pursuing law in the long run,” said Alana Ally, a third year English major.
The majority of internship opportunities are expected to be geared towards Criminology and Law Studies’ majors at John Jay, though those are not the only programs available in the school, and students feel strongly that those are not the only internships that should be advertised. The programs at John Jay range from both Criminology and Law Studies to Economics and English.
The amount of internship programs that are on display should be the same for all majors.
“Mostly what they have are things for law offices or the government,” said Chiara Vasquez, a third year English major. The excess amount of criminology and law centered opportunities are helpful when dealing with the appropriate demographic; however, when students who are solely liberal arts based find no opportunities for these internships, then it becomes a pressing issue.
Working hard comes into play when the school doesn’t outright provide the students with internships. When tying to find something more focused on an opportunity for, as an example, an English major, Vasquez believes nothing will appear unless you go to the head of the department themselves.
Vasquez said, “Unless you speak directly to like the Head of the[English] Department, John Staines, it’s kinda difficult to get an internship through the school in publishing or something, like that; I would have to find it by myself independently.”
Finding an internship independently, however, is not always a bad thing. While the college strives to assist its students, staff and alumni, the college also encourages the act of free will. Finding opportunities for internships is similar to finding jobs. While the process may be confusing, the experience obtaining the internship can be beneficial in the future.
“It’s a learning process in itself,” said Will Simpkins, Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development. It is actually encouraged that students branch out and apply for work, for it better prepares them for their future.
Although John Jay does not have specific internships students are looking for, that does not mean the school is lacking in internships. Per year, there are over 800-1,200 individual openings that are posted to the John Jay Career website. Through this website, students are able to specifically search for what opportunities they want to delve into. The opportunities listed online range from positions in law offices, to working with nonprofit organizations.
If students are unsure as to where to go for internship advice, the college has an office in the New Building managed by The Center for Career & Professional Development. The office is located at L. 72 in the New Building. In the office, not only is it full with informational pamphlets and a polite staff, but recently, drop-in appointments have been made acceptable at any time. Peer counselors are available for quick fifteen-minute drop-in sessions in which they assist students in several areas. The sessions can cover how to write résumés and covers letters and also provide some basic interview skills.
For more information, stop by L. 72, The Center for Career & Professional Development in the New Building.