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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    For One Student, Internship experience Helps Calm Fears of the Future

    After a long sleep in his Brooklyn residence, Vincent Szeto awoke to the sound of his alarm clock blaring at 7 a.m. on Monday morning. Szeto — galvanized to wake up and start the day — hauled his duffle bag over his shoulder and scrambled through the busy streets of New York City to his destination, a clear glass building on W. 57th St.

    The human resources department of Hearst Corporation, which resides over 20,000 employees, is where Szeto works twice a week as an operative controller. Szeto, an intern at the corporation, is part of the application reviewing process for companies such as O, the Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan, as well as newspapers and broadcast stations all over the United States.

    “I’ve learned a lot from my internships like how to do information for an interview or how to make a resume better,” Szeto said. “I’ve learned that it’s more about the experiences you have, not the major or the minor you choose.”

    The streets are brimming with businessmen and women when Szeto ends his 9-hour day in the city at 5 p.m. After taking three trains to get back to the Stony Brook University campus he lethargically sits down at his desk, unloads his duffle bag and diligently prepares for his Tuesday classes.

    The experience Szeto is gaining in the work force is allowing him to develop a taste for the “constant grind” of the real world. “What is the point in majoring in something if you don’t have experiences?” Szeto said. “That’s like saying ‘I’m studying to drive a car’ but have never driven a car.” Now Szeto is a double threat. His life experience and preparation in the classroom makes him confident that any employer will feel comfortable allowing him to sit behind the wheel of their business.

    The path Szeto paved for himself has left no room for fear of the future. Yet, while many students like Szeto are fighting in the competitive job market before graduating college others who do not have the same internship experiences could loose hope.

    One month ago, CNN reported a loss of 2.6 million jobs this past year. This number more than doubled from November and has created a fear among many Stony Brook students who are looking for jobs.

    Mariana Savoca, a staff member of the career center has seen first hand the alarm among students who will be entering the work force within the next year.

    “We are seeing more of a panic among students,” Savoca said. “We’re thinking kids went home from break, parents started asking questions and now they’re scared.” However, though jobs have become scarce in the market she believes the most useful networking tool for students is the internships they have under their belt.

    “Companies still know that they need to bring in interns,” Savoca said.

    But for some reason students aren’t applying for these internships that would increase the network options available to them, according to Savoca. Representatives from Fortress Investment Group, a global alternative investment and asset management firm, stood on Stony Brook campus grounds for four hours last week recruiting students. Only four juniors came to the Career Center to inquire about the business.

    “We are puzzled with all the marketing we do, are the students thinking the market stinks or are they just not applying?” Savoca said.

    Savoca believes that the biggest problem the career center faces is the inability to fill the average 250 internships presently advertised on Zebra Net.

    Internships have created a pipeline connection among universities that allow companies to “bring in new talent into their organizations, strategically not haphazardly,” Savoca said. The cut of higher paying jobs has resulted in an increase in entry-level workers, that is beneficial to the college students. Savoca can only hope that students develop a more aggressive attitude applying for internships in order to keep companies recruiting from Stony Brook.

    “A lot of people are afraid of the real world, but I’m not afraid of it anymore,” Szeto said. “I’ve had a taste of how it works and my exposure to the corporate setting and the real world setting has helped me be prepared for the future.”

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