Internships

Recently I have been trying to take these things called “internships” a bit more seriously. I always knew they held some sort of significance over a future job after graduating from university. I guess, with all the busyness that is my weekly routine, I never really got around into researching what they were about. Today I can’t say that I’m up to scratch, but for the least I’ve submitted a few applications to a few places. Some say that’s a good effort, others wonder why I’ve submitted so few.

 

What worries me at the start is that having an internship and not having one can actually be the difference between getting a job (upon graduating) and not getting a job. While it’s good to know that having an internship makes finding a job so much easier, it makes me nervous to think that I must obtain one for fear that I won’t be able to get a job in the future. Of course, I know that failing to get an internship is not the end of the world and it might just merely mean putting more effort later, rather than now.

 

As I went through filling out some of the application forms, I was reminded of applying for the Co-op Scholarship at the start of uni, and how easily I was rejected with the material I put down there. In terms of Extracurricular Activities and Skills and Experience, there is no doubt that a dominant majority of all that for me is all the ministry I have been going about since year 11. Without adding up the hours in total for church, CBS, RICE, ISCF, etc, if there was anything I had to mention on my resume, it would have to be these activities. But are these “acceptable” activities that companies and firms would look for? To me, it seems like Christian ministry is very undervalued in their eyes, whereas “helping out with a uni society barbeque” (just pulling a random example) may be deemed as an important display of teamwork. My Co-op Scholarship was probably rejected for this reason.

 

And that annoys and upsets me a bit, which is why I don’t have much of a care for scholarships of internships now; what company would care about what I’ve done for a God who politically speaking may or may not exist (and from a conservative point of view, he probably doesn’t exist)? It makes me feel quite discouraged and disappointed in every company in society. How would you make them understand the value of youth group, or Bible Studies and such? When it comes to “naming achievements” from your extracurricular activities, do people dare to just simply put down medals and awards? Our high school had a pretty funny merit award system, and we figured out ways to get around the system a bit (in an honest way of course) and obtain a higher class of merit than was expected; by that, most people in our grade were able to obtain the highest level of award, which makes it not that special since everyone had it. Oh, but to companies, would they give you the job because you obtained the highest level award from an educational institution?

 

What value is awards and medals, and do they truly reflect your effort and the person that you are? What would I put down for “achievements”? I would be tempted to put down something like “winning people to Christ for eternal life”. While applicants and companies are taking pride in bits and pieces of paper, I would try to be taking pride in having helped people find the Man who gives eternal life. If I had a choice being eternal life and a piece of paper that did nothing, I’d know what I’d pick. But, what company would accept that to be an achievement, that you helped people find Christ, find life, and find true meaning to life? What value or mark could you put to that for them to measure?

 

But there is one clear thing wrong with hat I just said above. We don’t “achieve” eternal life for other people, I haven’t “achieved” eternal life for the youth that I serve at church. Nor have I achieved “Jesus” for them. Coincidentally we’re going through 1 Corinthians 3 at youth group this Sunday; and 1 Cor 3:5-7 says:

“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

I can take no merit for anything in ministry that I have done to this date, because truly it was God who did the hard work (and I thought my work felt hard as it was). What can I boast in then that I have achieved? Nothing. And so what have I to show to companies as achievements over the years? Pretty much nothing. But clearly my “lack of achievements” doesn’t really reflect who I am, and what I am able to do through God.

 

So at the end of the day, for me, I harbour little hope as I fill in internship applications, knowing that there isn’t much I can legitimately put down on paper, and knowing that the way I’ve lived my life will not be appreciated by secular society. It disgusts me a bit I guess, and why shouldn’t it when all the effort you’ve put into the past few years is not counted. However this is okay, it does mean that I’ll keep trying and to not worry if things don’t go the way I want them to.

 

 

A Different Sort of Internship

There is one internship that stands out from the rest, and if there’s any internship I’d ever want to make, it would be this one; and I know that I’ve made it.

 

This particular internship is quite simple, it only has one yes/no question: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” No doubt, this is clearly the “internship” into a place in heaven. While most people would expect getting into heaven to be harder than getting a job in a big company, it is actually somewhat simple. Sadly, answering yes to that question isn’t easy for a lot of people.

 

Furthermore, you are free to attach your resumes, your cover letters, list down all your achievements, put down the fact you went to the best schools and universities, and anything you’d expect your average company to look at. However, God won’t look at any of that; all He cares is whether you ticked yes or no to that question about believing in Jesus, his son. All you have to do is tick “yes” (and actually mean it), and that’s it.

 

So while companies might not care about how we serve God, for our internship applications, neither does God care about the things you would submit to those companies, as a basis to get into heaven; a strange but pleasant twist of fate huh?

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2 thoughts on “Internships

  1. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting down church activities into your resume. Just don’t exaggerate it or make it seem more than what it is 😛
    Companies are interested in what skills you’ve gained from your experiences and how it might fit into their company’s context. And it shouldn’t matter what context where you gained those skills whether it be from church, sport, work, volunteer work, etc.
    In some sense it can be important to include church in our extra curricular activities. If the company doesn’t select us because of our church commitments, then I doubt that we would enjoy working for that company anyway.

    Leadership skills – you lead a group of youths in bible study, you plan and organise social activities for them, you train them up to look after others. You’re committed to take time to prepare and plan activities for people so that they may benefit from the time at youth group.

    Team work – you work with a team of youth group leaders in organising youth group for youths at church. You work together to plan activities and social outings. You learn to work with people of different backgrounds, personalities and skills. You get to understand your own weaknesses and strengths and also to cooperate with the strengths and weaknesses of the others in team. But you realise the importance of communicating openly and effectively in order to achieve the same goal.

  2. As Ken pointed out above, your involvement with church, and with spreading your faith is something that you should definitely place in resumes and/or scholarship applications, and refer to during interviews.

    While companies may not fully understand the implications of your work as a Christian, they are interested in what YOU have gained from it. So don’t lose hope – there’s plenty you can write which companies CAN appreciate. Again, like Ken said, you’ve lead plenty of groups in bible studies, and had to organise and plan them along with other leaders. I know you were heavily involved with organising RICE a few years back too. All this is experience which provides you with plenty of material to write on, or to bring up during interviews (especially those behavioural interviews where you get asked, “So, describe a time when you had to overcome a difficulty.” or other similar generic questions designed to gauge how you would react to challenges).

    And here’s a slightly different perspective, from someone who didn’t go to church. Purely from observing facebook activity, I’ve found that a lot of my Christian friends have had a lot more opportunities to become involved in organising events or starting up some new initiative. Opportunities which are a fair bit harder for someone like me to come across. So really, I think you’ve been really fortunate with this, in both a spiritual and more down-to-earth sense. You have the experience – you just need to remember who the audience is, and give them something they’re looking for.

    Also, with the Co-op application thing… a lack of diversity doesn’t count for much when they consider potential scholars. Judging from what I’ve seen, the weighting usually goes along the lines of:
    1) Not sucking at maths.
    2) General leadership qualities (generic hub-bub buzzword stuff)
    3) Showing an interest in the actuarial profession (so being able to answer what you expect to be doing in 5 years time… e.g. working my way through Part IIIs and not failing.)
    4) Not writing anything stupid. (I’ve read a response where a guy recounted a time when he got arrested for resisting arrest because he thought the cops in an unmarked police car were thugs. This was his e.g. for his reaction to a difficult situation.)

    Anyway, good luck with applying for internships!

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