On television, being a lawyer, a doctor or a cop looks pretty cool.
Lots of action, different problems to solve every day and a kind of glamor that goes with being smart, respected and good looking.
In reality, lawyers do most of their work outside of the courtroom. Doctors spend most of their time on routine cases. And police do lots of social work and deal with the angry, the irritable and the unpredictably violent.
That’s one of the reasons Craig and Parker high schools run internship classes: Life is nothing like television. Perhaps more important, internships can help students see what they don’t want to be.
“How many people start off in one career and end up in something completely different?” asked Brandon Miles, business and marketing teacher at Craig High School. “How many people change their majors in college? Students think they might know (what they want to do), but how do they know?”
Here’s how the classes work.
Students interview for their place. Once they’re in, they have to contact employers themselves. They spend one day a week in the classroom improving their communication and professional skills.
Those skills include conversing with people who are not your age, meeting new people and interacting in a professional way, among others.
The rest of the week they spend with the employers of their choice. Students must log at least 50 hours a semester in the workplace or workplaces of their choice. In most cases, the students leave school at 2:45 p.m., about 45 minutes before the school day ends.
Popular spots for internships include health care clinics, hospitals, veterinary clinics, the Janesville Police Department and dental offices.
The Gazette also had an intern from Craig High School, who took photos to go with this story.
It might be more accurate to call the internship courses series of job shadowing experiences. It’s unlikely high school students would be able to participate in any meaningful way at most workplaces, especially in places where patient privacy or student safety is concerned.
At Property Revival, however, the internship program is established well enough for students to get a feel for all aspects of the real estate business.
They do everyday secretarial work such as copying, scanning and running errands.
“It’s not just about putting them to work,” said Brian Lawton, CEO of the company. “We want to teach them how to network.”
The interns have a guidebook of goals covering different aspects of the job. They might call clients, work on the company’s website, write copy, consider social media options for sales, develop marketing reports or perform a variety of other duties.
Lawton also pushes students to identify local people they would like to meet.
“They’re nervous about it. They don’t think that person would want to meet them,” Lawton said. “They just need to express an interest in what they do.”
He encourages them to shoot for “a cup of coffee a week” with a professional.
Lauren Adler, 16 and Regan Boehlke, 16, are both in the internship class. On a recent Friday morning, they were interning at Harrison Elementary School where Adler’s mother, Jodi Adler, is a teacher.
Lauren Adler also shadowed an anesthesiologist in Beloit.
“It was less crazy than I thought it would be,” Adler said.
A fan of television shows such as “House,” Adler expected more action, more mystery. She also plans to shadow an ultrasound tech, a job that might have more variety.
Boehlke interned with a dental hygienist. She liked the people part of the job but soon realized hygienists do the same job day after day.
Both of the girls liked interning at the school but would like the opportunity to spend more time at the job.
Most days they don’t get to the school until about 3 p.m., and then there’s only 30 minutes left in the school day. Friday’s daylong experience was the exception.
“I like seeing how the whole day goes,” Boehlke said.