To Intern or Not to Intern…

by Rebecca Kluberdanz, Senior Editor, INALJ MontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew Jersey,  New Mexico, and Wyoming

To Intern or Not to Intern…

REBECCA_KLUBERDANZ_NYSAs a graduate school student I’m always hearing about new internships becoming available, peers that are working internships, how valuable internships are for your resume and so on and so on. When I first started my program I was working in a completely different field and my job gave me enough flexibility to complete two classes a semester and still work full time. After about a year of this I decided to take a leap and quit my full time job to get more immersed in the library field. I began working part-time as a graduate assistant at my school and also started a part-time internship. However, at the end of the summer the place where I was interned offered me a full-time job. How was I supposed to turn that down? But now I’m constantly worrying that I made a mistake taking a full time job when I could have been completing internships to boost my resume.

My experience ( as well as my constant panic about my resume and the future) caused me to do a little research. Am I the only feeling this way? The only who can’t afford to say no to a full time job even though it may jeopardize my future? Basically, after reading numerous articles I came to a conclusion. People may not support unpaid internships…but they keep taking them. It seems to me that although students are quick to speak out against unpaid internships, they still rush to take them. They believe that the experience they get will be more valuable then any money they could be making from a part-time job or full-time job. So for those that feel that way I’ve decided to offer some of the most valuable advice I found while perusing the Internet:

1. Research virtual opportunities: May be if you can’t afford to travel to a different location or completely relocate for an internship you can find a virtual one! Completing an internship online may allow you to work multiple internships or work a part-time job and try to get some money out of your experience.

2. Apply for scholarships: Some universities actually offer scholarships that may help fund an unpaid internship. Or if yours doesn’t, Google around! There are a lot of funds out there for people who are completing internships and it never hurts to apply!

3. Get credit for it: If you can only find an unpaid internship try to at least get credit for it. If you can’t get money, at least get something for it! Make the internship work for you and maybe you can get your degree even faster.

4. Don’t be afraid to quit: I think this is the best advice to give. Some people, like myself, often feel to guilty to quit, but why should you? If something better comes along don’t be afraid to go for it! Especially if it means the difference between something that pays and something that doesn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating burning any bridges, but don’t get stuck in a bad position because you’re too afraid to quit.

Now, I’m still not sure if I made the right decision choosing a full time job while in school over completing some useful internships but I hope that I this advice will help some of you who decided that interning is the way to go!

  2 comments for “To Intern or Not to Intern…

  1. dan cawley
    October 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

    there’s a not-so-old joke: “i had to intern for my internship.”

    this article in the atlantic provides some food for thought:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/do-unpaid-internships-lead-to-jobs-not-for-college-students/276959/

    i have volunteered and did a internship, neither effort opened up a job (or even a network contact).

    no energy is ever wasted. experience is experience, whether it lands you a job. or, not.

  2. Crystal Snyder
    October 15, 2014 at 1:03 am

    In my opinion, your decision is more valuable to your future employer. Because your current employer found your internship works satisfactory, so much, that they hired you full time. Although, many internships introduce you to many different skills, a steady job demonstrates abilities to professional development and network within an organization.

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