Students take advantage of ninth period internship course to discover passion

Lauren Frias, staff writer

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As the end of the year approaches, the impending necessity to make career choices becomes more evident for high school students. With the unclear future ahead, students may have an apprehensive mindset.  However, with the offer of an internship course at South, taught by Rosanna McManamon, the decision for a future career can become much easier for undecided students, McManamon believes.

“It’s not really like your typical class,” McManamon said. “It doesn’t technically take up any period of the day. What I do is I try to help [students that apply in the course] find [an internship opportunity]. Students put in hours, unpaid, in a career that they think they want to pursue in college.”

The internship course, in its third year of being offered at South, is available for juniors and seniors to take, according to McManamon.  The internship requires approximately sixty-five hours in a semester in order to receive credit.  Not only will a student receive credit for taking up an internship, but they will also get a better perspective of their career choice from this experience.

“The whole purpose of [this course] is that [the students] get career exposure in areas that they think they are interested in prior to leaving for college,” McManamon said. “[…] They’d say they want to be a dentist or a lawyer, but they’ve never actually put themselves out there [to experience it]. […] It opens their eyes to realize the ins-and-outs of the career, the good and the bad.”

            Responsibility is one of the main aspects taught to students in this course, according to McManamon. Students must always be prepared and set, as if they were working the jobs themselves.

“You really need to be a responsible student [to take up an internship], because you’re basically on your own once you get started,” McManamon said. “It’s your responsibility to put in [enough] hours. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re following the procedures. It’s your responsibility to call in if you’re sick. Everything falls on you.”

Students may not find the aspect of responsibility attractive, but junior Sabrina Iqbal was one of the twenty students who decided to take this course head-on, according to McManamon.

“So, for my internship, I had to complete an application and create a resume for Walgreens pharmacy,” Iqbal said. “Throughout the internship, I observed the pharmacist, filled prescriptions and learned different systems within the pharmacy […] There was a lot of responsibility because at the pharmacy [where I was an intern], I was basically treated as another employee and [was] expected to do what they did, but it was worth it.”

However, according to junior Huma Nizamuddin, much responsibility is required for her internship as a pharmacist technician.

“The internship did require me to have a good deal of responsibility as my performance can drastically affect the flow of sales, and I have to be careful with the medicine in general,” Nizamuddin said. “Sometimes I have to take responsibility of what I do while at the pharmacy, especially because we are so time restrained. I need to do what I do right the first time in order to keep the distribution and work running smoothly.”

Nizamuddin described a few of the tasks she was required to do while at the internship.

“During the shift, prescription papers would print out of the machine, and I would have to fold the papers, find the correct medicine out of multiple shelves worth and count the correct amount using sanitary tools,” Nizamuddin said. “Then I would have to […] print out stickers to attach to medicine bottles, fill them with medicine and close the cap, and only then can I pass it down the line to the pharmacist. Sometimes I even prescribe control pills, which can be highly addictive, so I’m required to count the amount I fill twice and then sign my name by the number to show that there is indeed the correct number of pills.”

Despite the daunting sense of responsibility, the advantages of the course outweigh the disadvantages, according to Nizamuddin. She identified the advantages of the course from her experience as an intern at Walgreens pharmacy.

“Today, I still have pharmacy technician license, which was required to have when I got the internship, so I can technically get a real job now,” Nizamuddin said. “[…] It’s just awesome to think that, as a high-schooler, I can get a job that some people work for as a living.”

According to Iqbal, she also experienced many benefits from the course. The benefits not only affected her short-term but some long-term as well.

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