While internships can be a great way to gain valuable experience, especially for jobs in competitive industries, they come at a price. In my experience, interns are often treated like grunts, who run errands, take out trash and get screamed at all for a “resume booster”. The point of internships is technically to be mentored and have the opportunity to observe how someone’s job works but what really ends up happening is interns are looked at like a burden. I think if companies aren’t willing to take the time to treat interns like students who are trying to learn, they shouldn’t offer those opportunities.
Recently when I went on an interview for an internship, the whole thing went really great, the intern coordinator seemed to really like me and told me I seemed like a “smart kid”, but then ended the half hour interview by telling me that while she would love to offer me a position, doing so would take some convincing on her part due to my lack of experience in that particular field. I was shocked. How could anyone expect someone going out for an unpaid internship for school have actual experience in that field? Isn’t that the entire point of getting an internship?
Not only that, but these types of places also expect you to come in for 2-5 eight hour days a week, on top of your normal school work. (Which as a senior especially makes having a paying job to supplement the unpaid work impossible). I worked full-time all summer but since half those days were at my internship I was still always broke. In fact, internships actually cost money in transportation, lunch, new clothes to work in an office etc. These companies are being completely unrealistic about our personal living situations, especially those of us at Lesley who are required to completely internships to graduate, and they are taking advantage of our desperation. While we are theoretically doing these internships to have more job opportunities in the future upon graduation, in the meantime personally I am more indebted to my family’s financial help than ever, and my post-grad job situation doesn’t look any more promising. I don’t know what the solution is, but these internships seem completely unproductive.