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5 reasons you should try interning at one of Boston's startups

Posted by Alex Pearlman  January 29, 2012 06:12 PM

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startup internships.jpgBy Elizabeth Bailey

Life as a student often feels like a juggling act; with an erratic, busy schedule balancing classes, social life, and work, it can be difficult to commit to anything except for the occasional library visit and the not-so-occasional late-night Easy Mac binge. Thinking about committing to an internship can be enough to cause a small crisis (or just trigger that desire for Easy Mac).

Relax! There's no need to stress about internships. Though it may be nerve-wracking at first -- working at a real company is just -- you're bound to get a ton of great experience, especially if you're interning at one of Boston's many startups. Take it from a former startup intern (me): Here are five reasons you should consider a startup internship.

You get to be creative. Whether you're working on the marketing team or behind the scenes, this internship is your chance to make the position your own. You may think you're "just an intern," but at a small startup with few employees, interns get the chance to have opinions that matter. Use it.

You meet a ton of interesting people. The startup culture, especially in Boston, is really amazing and includes people from all sorts of different backgrounds who have gone against what's standard and started their own projects. You get to meet young co-founders with incredible stories of their dorm room startup days, as well as older folks who lived through the advancements in technology that led to the entire startup scene. The uniting factor? Their larger-than-life dreams.

You won't be bored. I used to compare my internship at BostInnovation to those of my peers at the area's large financial firms, and I was baffled by how we deserved the same title. There's nothing wrong with spending a few months at a big company, and the connections you make at any internship are incredibly handy. However, when you're interning for a startup, you take on so much more responsibility; forget about those horror stories of an internship all about sorting folders and stapling papers. And Facebook stalking during your downtime? Impossible -- there is no downtime.

The people around you are brilliant. Remember how I said that interning at a startup is great because you have the chance to be creative and really contribute? And how you'll meet really cool people? Well, interning at a startup can also be intimidating because those people you're meeting and working with are geniuses in their own fields. At both BostInno and my internship at nSphere, I met people who can write a press release in under 15 minutes, keep servers running with absolutely no help, and can conjure up the most hilarious ideas for viral videos (and maybe some not-so-hilarious ones). Don't sell yourself short; you're there because these geniuses see potential in you.

You'll get out of your comfort zone. You might be making connections with new businesses one day, then learning to code, working on SEO, or becoming an obscenely masterful Twitter genius the next. At a startup, there is no "typical day," and there is no comfort zone. But you're an edgy college student with involvement in different organizations, a unique background, and great taste (obviously; you're reading TNGG, aren't you?), so that shouldn't bother you.

Why would you recommend interning with a startup?

Photo by Devar (Flickr)

About Elizabeth -- I'm just your typical southerner studying in (and constantly starstruck by) the North! As a third year at Northeastern University, I spend my time working to better the community with my sorority and getting to know the Boston startup scene. I can't get enough of innovation, and I have the worst sense of direction you will ever encounter. Follow me on Twitter @EABailes.

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This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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