Becoming a Professional - Interview with Will Vargas
Published: December, 2019
Will Vargas can be best described as a go-getter. He is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, majoring in communication, with minors in organizational communication, public relations, and digital media and production. His studies lead him toward an internship as an event planning assistant for the International Association of Dialogue Analysis from September 2018 to August 2019, an experience that taught him more about himself than he thought possible.
“I was able to differentiate myself from every other graduate that is walking the stage with me.”
Will was part of a team that planned an international academic conference, where participants traveled from Poland, Israel, Canada, France, Thailand, and many other countries to Milwaukee to speak on their respective writings. Will was in charge of creating the submission forms, filtering through them, registering the participants, and choosing meals for four days of attendance. He describes it as, “the most difficult professional accomplishment I have ever done, but also the most rewarding.”
The biggest benefit of an internship, according to Will, is finally being able to put to practice what he was taught in the classroom. He says, “Yes, I am good at [event planning]...but do I want to do it? I can take a test, and I can write a paper, but I did not know if I could do this. And [this internship] taught me that I can.”
“No internship is one-size-fits-all...you need to look for different ones that fit you.”
Although Will enjoyed his internship, he realized he would not pursue a career in event planning. To him, even though it is not a career path that he wants to pursue, it still taught him valuable experience and lessons that he can carry with him into a different field. “Would I do it as a career? No, I did love it though. But I also learned about myself professionally. It is a great career field, but it gave me the opportunity to find out that it isn’t what I want to do.” Will is grateful that he found this out through an internship, rather than being locked into a career he doesn’t enjoy later on in life. “That is one of the best things about internships. You get to find out if you love it or hate it and what you are going to do about it afterward.”
Will’s advice for anyone who is looking for an internship? Listen to your advisor’s recommendations for ones that might interest you. Many of these internships are forwarded from the office of internships as they are posted to Handshake. “I found out about this internship through a mass email to all communication majors. Check your emails!”
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