I am currently a Mechanical Engineering student interning with a large automotive company. I am part of the Co-Op program with my school which basically means I intern for a semester then go to school for a semester (summers as well) rotating until I graduate. The goal is to work up a relationship with the company so they don’t have to introduce new interns into their company culture, allow the interns to work for extended periods of time (full semesters instead of just summers), and possibly offer a full time position upon completion of the program. When I was hired as a freshman they said I would have the chance to move around and try different positions but I didn’t really realize that I would be working within the same department the entire time just doing slightly different tasks.
I have really not been thrilled with the roles the company has placed me in. My days consist of busy work that could be completed by technicians or people without degrees at all, no offense meant here but I am paying a lot of money to study engineering and I would like to use the skills I have been learning in my classes. I also haven’t learned any technical skills on the job such as new software that could benefit me in the future. I still have a couple more work sessions with the company before my Co-Op is officially over. There are a lot of things I like about the company and I could definitely see myself working here but the department I am in feels like a dead end career wise.
My main question is, should I stay with the company through the completion of the program? I am getting paid well for someone my age and having 10k in savings as a college student is a huge plus. One thing I am afraid of is what I will say when interviewers for my next job ask me about my experience. There really isn’t much to say, I am doing all that I am told to do and there isn’t much room to innovate or take on other tasks. Will future employers look down upon me because the work I was asked to do wasn’t technical at all? As I said before I like the company, just not the department. Will I look bad to the company as a whole if I resign early? If I resign from this program I will not be able to intern with this company, in any department, until after my degree is completed (school policy). The department has also already begun to show interest in hiring me upon graduation which I am definitely against.
Note- I am not able to switch departments without quitting and then being rehired to a new department which isn't allowed because of school policy