For many college students, an internship offers the first taste of what will become their life’s work.
But sometimes, internships serve a very different, if no less valuable, purpose for students. Some students learn that the job they thought they wanted is not the ideal fit they imagined.
Nathaniel Brown was a junior majoring in accounting last year, when the Niebuhr Center helped him secure an internship with PADS, a group providing shelter and services for homeless families in Lake County. Brown spent the semester doing bookkeeping and payroll work for the organization, and came to admire the service they provide for the homeless. But he also learned an important lesson. He found that he didn’t like accounting as much as he thought he would, and decided that he no longer wanted to pursue a career in the field.
“It was nothing against PADS. They were great,” he said. “But I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t see myself as a CPA for the rest of my life.”
Brown wasted no time acting on what he learned. This fall, he changed his major to supply chain management, a subject that he says is turning out to be a much better fit for him.
“I like the challenges of moving products, working out logistics,” he said. “That suits my talents better. There is more chance to be innovative.”
Brown came to Elmhurst because he was impressed with the College’s business program. He learned about the Niebuhr Center through a First-Year Seminar, and quickly became involved. He volunteered for Partners for Peace, the center’s hands-on social justice initiative that puts students to work serving neglected communities in nearby Chicago. And he found that the Niebuhr Center could be an important resource for students.
“You can go [to the Niebuhr Center] any time and everyone there is ready to help students, whether it’s to talk about academics or about life,” Brown said.
Brown learned that the Niebuhr Center could help him reach his professional goals, too. His conversations with the Niebuhr Center staff about his career interests led directly to his internship at PADS. Brown said he was grateful for his experience there because it helped him clarify his professional path.
“I found out that no matter what field you’re pursuing, the Niebuhr Center can help you,” he said. “They help you network and they’re there to give you the advice you need. Without them a lot of things I’ve done at Elmhurst would not have been possible.”
And he might not have found the field that was right for him.