College Students Settle for Unpaid Internships to Gain Experience

By Jessica Fischberg
Sports Copy Editor

Many college students attempt to obtain internships throughout the year in order to gain experience, skills and knowledge in their desired field even if the position is unpaid.

Both paid and unpaid internships are beneficial because employers are looking for individuals with experience within a specific industry, said Clara Hollander, a junior communication major. She is currently an interning with the University of Maryland’s Athletic Department for the men’s lacrosse team.

Hollander began her internship in fall 2014 as an unpaid intern receiving academic credit. However, in fall 2016, she became a paid intern.

“The more experience you have the better, “ Hollander said. “Paid internships are sort of like a bonus. You should be there to learn, but getting a small paycheck is nice as well.”

Jessie Brodksy, a junior government and politics major, is currently a paid intern at Manis, Canning & Associates, a bipartisan lobbying firm located in Annapolis. She has also had unpaid internships that have given her experience and references to go along with her resume.

Brodsky said that without her previous positions as an unpaid intern, her resume would not have looked good enough to be accepted to her current internship program.

“Past unpaid internships have led me to one-on-one meetings with extraordinarily high ranking politicians,” Brodsky said. “By engaging in every unpaid opportunity I could, I opened myself up to amazing personal connections and networking outlets I could use later on.”

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Photo by Adhithya Kannan

Internships are an extremely valuable experience for students. These opportunities enable students to take the knowledge they learned in the classroom and apply it to their desired field, said Alixandra Hyatt, a senior communications major.

Hyatt was an unpaid intern over the summer at the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter, although she did receive a stipend for daily commuting expenses.

“I would definitely complete another unpaid internship,” Hyatt said. “This experience has opened so many doors for me. Not only did it teach me how perform certain tasks in an office setting, but it also was a great way to learn about what I desire in a future job.”

Hollander would advise her peers to complete internships throughout college, even if the positions are unpaid. She also suggests students look into getting academic credit for their internships in order receive recognition for their hard work outside of the classroom.

Brodsky said her paid internship has offered larger networking pool than some of her past unpaid positions. She sees herself now on a career path, whereas before she knew her unpaid internships were stepping stones to later opportunities.

“Internships continuously provide me with hands on experience that I would never be able to get in a classroom,” Brodsky said. “They provide first hand knowledge and skills that go beyond the classroom. “

Hyatt said her internships have granted her invaluable networking opportunities by connecting her to many professionals in her desired industry. All her internships have provided her with new networking outlets.

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