Internships an Important Part of College

 High schoolers’ minds are racing from the beginning of their freshmen years, deciding what they want to do after graduation, where to go for college, and what kind of career they want for the rest of their lives. At any age, making these types of life changing decisions are difficult, especially when you start thinking about them at 16 years old. 

When being told to make the decision for your career choice, students are often told to choose something that interests them, or that is similar to what they are used to or good at. However, some interests do not always offer the best opportunities in careers post-graduation.

Sarah Kobler, a sophomore at Hilbert College, is studying political science.

Mia Loshiavo, also a sophomore, studies criminal justice.

Jake Pericak, a freshman at SUNY Geneseo, studies biology and pre-med. After graduation, all three students will have several opportunities when making a career choice. 

With a degree in political science, Sarah Kobler will be qualified to work as a paralegal, legislator, lobbyist, or analyst, among other opportunities. “My goal after my first four years of school, I plan to go to grad school, and eventually become an attorney,” Kobler said.

Mia Loschiavo, a sophomore criminal justice major, said … paraphrase what she said.,

“Once I graduate I will be able to pursue a career in law enforcement, an investigator, a correctional officer, and many other positions,” Loschiavo said. “I plan on doing something with law enforcement or joining the FBI.”

Jake Pericak, a freshman at SUNY Geneseo studying biology, said that he has a lot of plans for his future.

“When I graduate from med school,” Pericak said. “I will have several opportunities, I could go into any job in the medical field, from a nurse to a neurosurgeon. But I want to take it a step further, go for more schooling, and become an eye doctor.” 

Sometimes, when students major in something that requires less qualifications, to get ahead of the game they will get a job during school that relates to their career later in life. In these students’ cases, all careers require more schooling and a degree beforehand. In other majors, like art or music, it is easier to find a job during school to gain more experience. 

When it comes to majors that require more schooling, it is recommended or required for students to complete an internship for experience and more job opportunities, Kobler said.

“I have already started internships and I am currently applying for more to complete before graduation,” She added. “I have been doing internships with different politicians around the area, and soon I will be starting an internship with a lobbyist. This gives me more experience and a better feel for what I am in for once I graduate.”

For Loschiavo, it is a little different.

“I am currently not completing any internships and I do not think I am ready to,” Loschiavo said. “However, sometime next year I plan to research the different options I have and pick one that really interests me.”

Pericak said he will get plenty of professional training in the medical field as he moves through his education.

“I am currently not enrolled in any internships either,” Pericak said. “I have twelve years of school ahead of me, and I have a lot of time to research and decide on the best fit for me.” 

Most times, because we are told from such a young age to choose a major we have always been interested in, students will decide on something and stick with it. Although there is nothing wrong with changing your mind or switching your major, it is usually something we have been interested in since a pretty young age. However, all three interviewees stated that even before high school, they knew their major choice was something they wanted to do.

Besides students having jobs relating to their career choice, they can also form hobbies to educate them more on what they are studying.

“Some hobbies I enjoy outside of school are being an activist for different movements and topics that I am passionate about,” Kobler said.

Loschiavo said her outside interests also fall in line with her major and career plans.

“Outside of school, I love watching different crime shows and learning about and researching different, interesting cases,” Loshiavo said.

As you can see, there are so many different career options no matter what major a student may choose, the hardest part is just being able to pick which one you want to pursue. On the other hand, there is always time to change direction, and at no point in time are you stuck with one career for the rest of your life. 

For Pericak, his hobbies fall outside the purview of his working future, he said.

“I don’t really have many hobbies that pertain to my major right now, as it is still my first year of college and there are not many hobbies and activities relating to things in the medical field,” Pericak said. 

Mental Health and the Stress of College

Have you ever taken a step back and thought about the current state of your own mental health? From avoiding their problems and feelings to not ever realizing something may be wrong, billions of people suffer from mental health problems, and many  do not know there are ways to get help. 

In today’s world, it seems the people affected many by mental health problems, the most common being depression, anxiety, and excess amounts of stress, are students.

Brooke Klein, a freshman at Hilbert, previously attending Daemen College and Erie Community College. She said …

Hamm is also a freshman who transferred this year from University at Buffalo.

“Before I started college and even before COVID-19, I had experienced anxiety, which I think has only gotten worse for me since my first year of college.” Klein said.

Klein said her mental health state is influenced greatly by her workloads.

Katherine Pappas, a Hilbert Sophomore, said she has experienced similar mental health issues.

“I have experienced mild depression for a while, and even though school always affects my moods, some semesters can be worse than others,” Pappas said. “It all depends on the amount of stress pushed onto us as students.”

On the other hand, Alesia Hamm is a freshman who transferred this year from University at Buffalo tells us she is able to deal with her stress easier,

“I have definitely experienced mental health issues in the past, but I think I am much better now,” Hamm said. “I do not think college has too much of a negative effect on my mental health.”

As the years go on there is a continuous increase in rates of mental health issues,  especially since the ages affected keep lowering, schools have tried to make counselors and resources more accessible.

Hilbert offers help to students such as counselors and comforting teachers.

Klein said she was surprised to learn the Hilbert offers mental health counseling services.

“I was not even aware that Hilbert offered mental health resources to students,” she said.

Even though these resources are offered, they may not be advertised enough to the people who need it the most.

 Pappas said she would be more like to use the services if the hours were more expansive.

“I knew about the resources offered, however the office hours of the counselor on campus are very limited.,” Pappas said. “I am not even sure when he is around.” 

When it comes to mental health, everyone is different because everyone thinks and feels differently. While one student may be super stressed about a project due in a week, another student may be able to schedule their time out and calmly deal with it. Others avoid their stress and just get things done, even though they may have some feelings bottled up. This means everyone does something different to cope with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

When these students were asked what mainly contributes to their mental health issues, the only common answer was stress from school. 

Klein said getting away from school can help her feel better.

“When I’m feeling stressed or having a bad day mentally, I like to take a day off and really focus on myself,” she said. “When I have a day off it brings me to a more peaceful, happier mindset.”

Hamm said writing and going on drives alone are helpful for her. Pappas said driving is also helpful for her. “Sometimes I just drive around randomly, and it clears my head completely.” Pappas said., “I also like going on drives alone, but also love walking, reading, seeing my friends, or listening to music. Anything to take my mind off the stress or anxiety for a day or two really helps me.” 

Covid Protocols Present Challenges, Opportunities

Last March the lives of Americans changed drastically as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Everyday routines were turned completely upside down, including jobs, shopping, even spending time outside. But education, in particular, saw significant disruptions. Most schools around the country were forced to change the way students attended classes, changing and adding rules and regulations that students are not accustomed to, such as wearing a mask when on campus, logging into zoom classes on time, and disinfecting everything in class rooms and campuses.

Hilbert College is no exception.

Alesia Hamm is taking all classes in person and said that it is much easier and more efficient when it comes to understanding her material. She believes that human interaction and face to face learning is crucial, especially during these stressful times.

However, having online options has helped Hamm keep up on her schoolwork, she said.

“Due to having an online option for classes and office hours, I am able to keep my grades up more compared to last year,” she said.

Sarah Kobler takes a few classes online and the rest are in person, even though she, and most other students, are not too fond of remote learning. She believes that grades and mental health are both impacted when not being face to face for classes.

When it comes to being at home, and maybe even in your own bedroom, it is easy to get distracted and maybe miss an important part of your class. “Sometimes I notice my classmates walking away from their computer screens for long periods of time,” Kobler said.

Professor Megan Witzleben, who teaches English at Hilbert, only taught one online class over the summer, but agrees that in-person classes are much easier to teach and feels her students learn more efficiently.   

“Preparation for teaching (online) becomes much more complicated and time consuming,” she said. “I am unable to know how well the students are retaining the information I teach, especially if I have to present a pre-recorded video or PowerPoint.”

It is harder for teachers to keep track of attendance when teaching through a computer screen and to know if a student is falling behind, Witleben added.

“It seems that students usually only pay attention over zoom when it is a one on one meeting.” she said.

However, the students and professor have said that one positive thing about online schooling is not having to take time away from extracurricular activities or hobbies.

“Because of the restrictions of staying on campus for events and other activities, I have more time to play basketball outside of school,” Hamm said.

Another positive attribution of online class is the increase in grades, Hamm and Kobler agreed. This is most likely due to being able to review courses and classes as much as needed, versus a once over in an in-person class.  

And for some students, the independence and free time available in quarantine can be beneficial in some ways, Hamm said.

“Because I have the extra time to do more of what I really enjoy, such as basketball and enjoying being outside,” she said. “I feel my mental health is much better.”

Still, remote learning can be difficult psychologically. When students and teachers spend more time at home and most of their days on a computer, their mental health and even physical health may be affected.

Witzleban said that she and anyone with children need a strong support system. Without this support, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut both physically and mentally.  

“Being stuck inside all day everyday has a negative impact on mental health,” she said. “Especially since I have young children at home.”