The Struggles of Internships

I hate internships. There I said it. That being said I have one.

It wasn’t really a voluntary choice, unfortunately though, it has been drilled into everyone’s head that goes to an institution of higher learning that interning will either make you or break you.

“You won’t even stand a chance of getting a job without any internship experience,” they say. “You’ll be stuck at McDonalds with a bachelor’s degree all because you just didn’t take the time to get some field experience in your job,” they hiss. Legend even has it that internships might even be more important than your college degree…just kidding. But the way that some people adamantly vouch for it makes me believe that it is.

It seems like a lot to ask full time students who have jobs, extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, papers, tests, allergies, romances, one night stands, a partridge and a pear tree to deal with, but somehow through the magic of the universe students are able to squeeze 120 hours of their time into completing an, often, unpaid internship.

That is unless you’re a psychology major, then it’s all just a mere 60 hours, or if you made the choice of criminal justice then it’s a nice relaxing 80 hours.

Now I do not have anything bad to say about my current internship, in fact the people I work with, or rather for, are very nice and pleasant to be around.

However, I don’t see why in eyes of the University, the job market and prospective employers, how an internship should be the end all, be all in foretelling my success in an entry-level position once I graduate.

Even more so, you cannot ignore the fact that interning is seen as the norm and required by most majors as an “EX ED” requirement in order to graduate.

I mean that is unless you decide to study abroad, but again you’re going to be spending a lot of cash money just to satisfy a requirement which, in a very confusing turn of events, is a required course that is zero credits on your academic audit. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.

Nonetheless, it does nothing to distract from the fact that I would often describe internships as torturous for the simple fact that students are being forced to do something they don’t necessarily want to do.

Even more so, forcing students to pay to for the thing they don’t want to do and justifying it as a basic education requirement. A basic education requirement that the school isn’t even providing.

It’s like someone asking if you want chicken or fish, you say fish, they give you a bag of peanuts, charge you $1,000 for it and tell you if you don’t take it you’ve got to exit the plane mid-flight.

It is from all of this that I cannot help but think that forcing someone to pay to take a course to fulfill a zero credit requirement to intern, and all of that torture, is almost like a hazing process and “initiation” into the real world of careers, interviews, and bills, bills, bills.

While internships do teach you great networking skills and give you a glimpse into the job market that your specially selected major will allow you to dive into; they are also filled with exciting tasks of coffee runs, taking fun phone calls, verifying facts, stuffing envelopes, getting paper cuts, and making more coffee runs. All for free. They should probably call it community service instead.

Though, I guess what this really all boils down to is just the simple fact that nobody likes being told what to do, which is pretty common knowledge.

You come to college or go to a university and think that you are in control of your own future and will make the decisions that you see as fit to prepare you for the path ahead.

But here you are, paying uproarious amounts for an education just to be told what to do like you’re in grade school all over again.

Ultimately, it makes you feel unequal to whoever is trying to direct and make commands of you. Frankly, it will finally result in utter resentment and just the plain feeling wanting to replace the artificial sugar in your coffee with something a little stronger to get you through the day. But maybe that’s just me.

And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is why internships are secretly, not so secret, stereotypical hazing platforms.

Yet, here you are not getting into a cool fraternity or sorority and receiving one of those fun lettermen jackets. You will receive a dent in your wallet and the barista at that coffee shop will be on a first name basis with you and will know how your supervisor’s boss likes her latte.