Boost Your Academic Success with Expert Advice!

Get the best study tips, test prep strategies, and academic insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Prepped and Polished has been featured on:

Prepped and Polished featured on business logos

We respect your privacy and will never spam you.

Writing Tutor By Meagan Phelan, Writing Tutoring Instructor, Prepped & Polished, LLC

When I was 15, my parents took me to tour JLG—the leading manufacturer of lift equipment in the United States. I remember walking through warehouses full of tall yellow and orange cranes, trying to comprehend the relevance of the experience. Did Mom and Dad think I’d be a lift operator one day?

That same year, my parents took me to tour the Pfaltzgraff (a ceramic company), Harley Davidson (the motorcycle manufacturer), and Merrill Lynch (a prominent bank).


Between my fifteenth year and the time I went to college, I got internships at the local hospital (in the radiology department), at the courthouse (working in public records), and with my dentist (I’ll never forget watching him make a gold tooth).

To me, each of these experiences was unique; I couldn’t quite decipher the connection my parents wanted me to make. Furthermore, I never thought to myself, “I definitely want to pursue this career.”

Different career paths

What I did think, however, was, “Someday, I will be able to work in a profession I choose.” Having heard the stories of the physicians I shadowed or the engineers I observed discussing the design of motorcycle engines. I was aware of how professionals in the world had to put their education to work for them every day.

Indeed, by the time I got to college, I realized Mom and Dad were not only trying to broaden my awareness of the many career paths available to me but also trying to ground my current work, in reality, to say, “There is a direct application for the work you are pursuing today. It’s more real—and nearer—than you might think.”

Often, high school students today can get caught up in test scores and college admissions processes. Don’t get me wrong—those scores and those admissions essays are critical hurdles on the track to a successful future. That said, if you don’t contemplate the lasting value of education and make an effort that you truly and deeply digest, you are only doing a disservice to your future self—the self that will be looking for a job.

Choose career seriously

Perhaps one of the best ways to get excited about the course work you are pursuing as you complete high school and move on to college, where you’ll have to consider your career choice seriously, is to get out there in the field and ask professionals at work how they’re using what they learned in school.

I know I did. And it’s landed me a job I love.

Meagan Phelan holds an M.A. in Science Writing from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and a B.A. in Biology from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa. She has freelanced as a science writer and is a Fulbright Scholar. She currently works as a Senior Writer and Editor at AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe risk modeling firm based in Boston.

Was your high school internship a profound experience? What part of Meagan’s story affected you the most?

Post your tips/comments below.

Become a Fan on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!