4 Reasons Experience Is The Best Teacher

Heather R. HuhmanCandidate Advice

experience is the best teacher

Image Credit: SCS Connect

Much of what we know and understand has been learned through experience. Whether it was time spent in a classroom or having experiences out in the world, much of what we learn is accomplished through doing and interacting with others.

Throughout your career, experience is going to be one of the most important teachers you have. Most of us have learned through previous jobs, internships, and relationships with others. We’ve also learned a lot through travel, being involved with organizations, and pursuing hobbies outside of our careers. All these things combined are what truly shape us into the individuals we’ve become today.

On the contrary, some argue experience isn’t the best teacher when it comes to internships and career development. This is mostly because of the number of poorly organized internship programs that have created a negative image for this type of hands-on experience. However, I’d have to argue internship experience is very beneficial for young adults.

Experiences are extremely impressionable.

Through actions and lessons, any type of experience has the ability to leave an impression on our minds. College students who make the effort to go beyond their comfort zones through internships have the opportunity to gain an immense amount of knowledge.

In the classroom, we learn the skills and tools needed to succeed in the workplace. When given the opportunity to do an internship, college students can apply those skills and learn what works best and what doesn’t. Internships serve as beneficial experience because it teaches college students how to apply their knowledge and also build their soft skills. In addition, experiences gained in the workplace can create a lasting impression on one’s memory.

We learn from experience.

Not only does experience leave an impression on our minds, but also we learn from it. Experience isn’t just about learning new skills — it’s about exploring ourselves as individuals. Through internships, college students can learn what they want out of a career and the goals they want to set for themselves. Plus, internships allow college students to learn from professionals in the workplace and, at the conclusion of the internship, bring that knowledge back to the classroom.

Experience teaches what we want and what we don’t want.

College students do internships because they want to learn what they want and don’t want out of a career. Internships serve as an excellent opportunity for young adults to explore their options and discover the best path for themselves. Without internships, college students wouldn’t be able to learn what they truly want out of a job or even know where to look for their first job. This is one of the reasons why internship experience can be invaluable for college students and young adults.

Experience transforms us into professionals.

Not only does experience teach us important skills, but also it transforms us into professionals. College students who have the opportunity to gain professional experience through internships, job shadows, and leadership positions are more likely to be prepared for the workforce than someone who didn’t have this type of experience. Plus, professionalism isn’t always something that can be taught in the workplace. A college student who experiences one-on-one time with a mentor during their internship is more likely to learn how to be a professional than someone who doesn’t.

At the end of the day, experience is what helps us grow into the professionals we aspire to be. The more internship experience you can gain as a college student, the better prepared you will be after graduation. Regardless of the experiences you have throughout your college and professional careers, the experience you gain will help guide you to success.

Do you think internship experience is the best teacher? Why or why not?

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.