For some students, college seems to fly by. One minute, you’re a first year student figuring out how to find your classes and the next, you’re preparing to walk across a stage in a cap and gown, armed with new knowledge, experience, and contacts, but perhaps not sure of your next steps.
This was the experience of class of 2021 graduate Raeven Veal. Although in her case, time may have seemed to go even faster because of how quickly the track star was moving.The Challenge for Student Athletes
Raeven was a highly ranked track and field athlete at Christian Brothers University, already running at a national level by her junior year. High standards of excellence weren't limited to the track for Raeven, as she applied the same time and dedication to her studies. This meant every day was jam packed with schoolwork, training, and shifts at various on-campus jobs to make ends meet.
Even during her senior year, when an injury kept her from competing, Raeven maintained her 4.0 GPA while balancing extensive physical therapy. Where others might have been overwhelmed, Raeven continued to push forward. She reminded herself, “I knew the key to success was hard work.”
Despite Raeven’s outstanding levels of perseverance and grit, one thing she struggled to find time for was internships. She did one required experience during her senior year, but wished there had been more time for experiences outside of the classroom.
“Being a first generation student, I didn’t have an existing network and I didn’t go to networking events. I didn’t have time because I was competing, I was at practice, I was working on assignments. I didn’t feel like I had time to build connections outside of campus during undergrad, and I felt insecure about that.”
When Raeven graduated, she knew she had a lot to offer, but didn’t know how she wanted to apply her skills. She admitted, “The fact that I was done with college and I had so many opportunities in front of me was overwhelming. I didn’t know which way I wanted to go with my degree. I knew who I was as a student. I knew who I was as a student athlete. I didn’t know who I was in the workforce.”
How Micro-Internships Helped
When Raeven was reminded of Parker Dewey Micro-Internships, she realized it was the perfect solution for her predicament.
“I didn’t want to hop right into a field because I didn’t have the experience to know what I liked or what I was really interested in. Parker Dewey allowed me to get my feet wet in different areas without a commitment.”
With Raeven’s eagerness to try different fields and work environments, the efficient time frame associated with Micro-Internships was ideal. She shared, “The required internship I did during college was a couple months long, but it was slower paced. With Parker Dewey, it was a shorter time frame, but there was a goal that I was supposed to achieve within that time with a measurable benchmark. That was something that was really exciting to me.” She expanded further on the difference between her traditional and Micro-Internship experiences, saying, “In regular internships sometimes it’s like you’re an extra body. With Parker Dewey, it was immediately like I was a member of the team. I had a purpose.”
Raeven shared that one hurdle she was facing in her job search was confidence, which is something her Micro-Internships helped significantly. She shared, “Applying to Micro-Internships in Parker Dewey was my first time applying to opportunities. I had three companies that were interested right away and that was an awesome, confidence-building experience.”
Raeven’s experience taught her that even her willingness to learn could open doors she hadn’t realized were accessible to her. Her Micro-Internships also gave her an opportunity to prove that the skills she’d perfected throughout her college experience applied in the workplace, and not just in the classroom or on the field.
“The Micro-Internships allowed me to show those soft skills that I developed in school. The time management I developed, especially as a student athlete, was crucial in delivering on Micro-Internships and I got to show that ability in a professional setting.”
Parker Dewey also allowed Raeven to gain those business connections she’d been lacking as a busy first generation student athlete. She shared that one of her Micro-Internship supervisors not only did a great job of providing her with autonomy when he could and support when she needed it, but was also the push she needed to start expanding her network even further. She shared, “He was one of my first connections on LinkedIn - He actually encouraged me to make it!”
Raeven’s hopes for finding direction via Micro-Internships went exactly as planned. She recalled, “In one of my Micro-Internships, a lightbulb went off and I realized that I liked the work, the structure of the team, the leadership, etc.” Raeven wasted no time in applying that newfound self-understanding to her job search.
“In job interviews, I was now able to articulate what I liked because of my Parker Dewey experiences and determine whether the environments I was interviewing in fit what I was looking for.”
Wielding a better understanding of her own passions and workplace preferences, Raeven quickly landed a full-time role as a strategy associate at a public opinion research firm. She says it’s everything she could have wanted in a first job, and her demeanor as she speaks about it makes it clear that her passion for the role is genuine. She’s grateful to Micro-Internships for helping her get there.
“My experience and glowing review from my Micro-Internship gave me the confidence to pursue this opportunity and let me know that I had enough skills to be an asset in the workplace.”
Raeven wishes more companies were aware of the many ways Micro-Internships can benefit their hiring, clarifying that it’s a great way to not only get work done, but also to access and test out talent that they may not be getting through traditional recruiting methods.
For her contemporaries, Raeven shared, “You never know what will come out of a Micro-Internship. I personally didn’t think I was going to gain as much as I did from it. Apply to different things and see how it goes - you might find something that you love.”
Perhaps most importantly, Raeven encourages her fellow career launchers not to let fears keep them from putting in an application.
“What I’ve taken away from my experiences is, don’t be afraid to try anything - work, school, sports. It starts in the mind, by believing you can do it.”
Looking to add student-athletes to your team? Like Raeven, these students often struggle to find time for traditional internships. Learn how to engage them on their schedules with a Micro-Internship.