Internships: Worth or waste of time?

By Keirsten Heckel, Student Writer

There is one thing that seems to weigh on every student’s mind as they move further into their major: internships. Trying to find an internship is a stressful process for students and the “I” word seems to be a dark cloud that constantly hovers over the student body. College puts this idea in students’ mind that if you don’t have an internship, you won’t get a good job out of college and you won’t have the experience you need to survive in the real world. But, I wonder, is it all worth it?

Internships are usually unpaid and most students need to add another job onto their workload just to be financially stable while they are getting this “experience” that companies require.

In my opinion, money is the biggest motivator. Will a student really have motivation to do a job if they are not getting paid? Does experience trump getting paid? This seems to be an unethical approach to getting ahead in life, when in reality; no one is guaranteed a job right out of college. Yes, you might have a better shot at getting a job, but who’s to say that you have a better chance getting a job than someone who found a part time job doing the same exact thing?

College institutions and companies put a major emphasis on the word “internship” when, in some cases, that might not be an option.

Some students just can’t afford to spend their valuable time working unpaid to get experience when they have rent, groceries, utilities, cars, and gas to pay for. Those expenses need to be paid whether you have an internship or not. Students shouldn’t be penalized for choosing to work and pay the cost of living.

Student loans now come into the picture. If a student chooses to take an internship over a paying job, that brings up the idea of taking out yet one more student loan to pay off after graduation with the money from a job that no one is guaranteed. College students are already low on money and do everything they can just so they can buy groceries and gas at the end of the week. So I ask again, does experience really trump money?

I am not saying this is the case for every student. A lot of students take multiple internships and get great jobs out of college and lead successful lives. But, I think there needs to be an alternative for the students that don’t have the time, or can’t afford to work for free. Colleges overgeneralize this topic in that internships are the right choice for every student when that is not the case.

I am also aware that there are internships that do pay, but those are so hard to come by it is almost like finding a pot of gold. Students should take advantage of those positions if they find them, but unpaid internships should be the rarity not the paid ones.

Students need to make companies and college more aware of the hardships that come with unpaid internships. Companies and colleges may overlook the fact that it is financially hard to be a student working for free. Students may have loans and have part time jobs, but the time we spend working for free at a company could be spent working at our paying jobs to pay off the loans. Students need to take a stand and not let companies walk all over them just because they are in college and are brainwashed to believe they need experience or they won’t go anywhere in life.