Pro: Internships allow for professional growth
By Olivia Covington
Let me tell you something: college goes fast.
One day you’re a brand new freshman walking on Dame Mall for the first time, and then BAM! It’s time to graduate.
But even though the experience goes fast, there is so much you can accomplish during your four years of higher education, including professional accomplishments.
That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of all that college offers you in terms of career development, especially internships. In general, my advice would be this: if you have the opportunity to do an internship in your field, take it. Even if it’s during the semester.
I know that college is hard. You have hours of homework, hours of meetings, and hours of naps. But if you really want to reach your end goal — getting a job when you graduate — then you have to make time for professional work, too.
Most students like to reserve their internships for the summer when they don’t have to worry about schoolwork, but semester internships, in many ways, can be even better. Some companies just aren’t as busy during the summer, which means you’ll spend a lot of time getting coffee and making copies for the “real employees.”
If you work during the semester, though, you have a better chance of getting real work to do, which is a much better use of your time.
So if you have the chance to intern during the semester, take it. It could be the opportunity that launches your career and sends you straight to the top.
Con: Students should focus time on grades
By Caitlin Soard
Internships have become pretty much a necessity to get a job in today’s competitive market.
Fine, needing to gain a little experience makes sense, particularly in fields where you have to submit a portfolio in order to get a job. You need things to put in that portfolio.
However, working the equivalent of a full-time (unpaid) job as well as going to classes and, for some students, also working a job to help cover the expenses of college can get really stressful.
I know personally that if I added an internship on top of my workload this semester, I would probably have gray hair by now due to stress.
Getting good grades and graduating is the main reason we’re all here, and while internships can be a valuable source of knowledge and experience, it can also create added stress to a student’s already full course load.
Additionally, many internships are unpaid. This is a problem for students because, well, we’re broke as heck. I value my time, and I feel like a potential employer should as well. There are paid internships, but they are few and far between—particularly for journalism.
I definitely recommend doing an internship during the summer or a winter term. Even if you hate it, at least you’ll know what you don’t want to do with your life. And just maybe, you’ll love it and find a potential place to work after graduation.