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Internship? Yes, Please! (Wait, Can I Even Afford It?)

“Students are struggling to find a safe balance between priorities.” ~ Gabrielle G.

A large percentage of Post-Secondary programs require their students to complete a specified amount of internship hours, in an establishment relevant to their studies, in order to graduate. But, it is not common for a student to be paid by their designated establishment for their hard work, and generously-donated time.

Instead, students are struggling to find a safe balance between priorities, which include Post-Secondary related assignments, completing Internship hours and tasks, as well as finding the time to attain some sort of income from part-time employment, if this is something they have time for.

Welcome To The Machine..

It’s hard to say whether or not this system that students are stuck in is ethical, and it’s not to say that internships are a terrible idea, either. Yes, internships do give students the opportunity to network, experience the real workplace in their desired field, and to potentially pick up some new skills beneficial to their future. But, internships do tend to approach an unfair line that is often crossed. When a student has stopped learning new and useful skills at their internship placement, it isn’t fair to be completing repetitive tasks for the employer without some sort of reward or payoff. This is what a hired employee does. Students also have internship-related deadlines to meet, causing them to spend much of their own time on the task outside the establishment. Therefore, I don’t believe that the full experience of the “real world” can be achieved when there is no reward at the end of a day similar to this.

Students have, or are still paying for tuition, as well as donating free labour to these companies they are unlikely to be employed by. Students are using this precious time to benefit others, and not necessarily themselves. Introducing another added expense to this post-secondary experience is the commute. Traveling to and from mandatory locations burns a large hole in the pockets of students, leaving little left for post-graduation goals, including paying off debt.

Passion, Ambition & Desire!

Not only is this an issue of affordability in terms of money, but also it is an issue of affordability in terms of time. Students enroll in their programs with passion, ambition and desire. By the end of it, their drive isn’t as powerful as it used to be and their goals have become deprived of hope and motivation, resorting to a sense of settling for employment positions, rather then “shooting for the moon.” We are so much in debt now that any sort of employment is fine. The most frustrating concept of it all is that if students are unable to find employment at their internship placements, they are obligated to re-apply to another establishment and restart the entire free labour process once again. It doesn’t seem like students will get much farther then from where they started by the looks of this viciously circled system.

As a side note, Kudos to those who achieved an employed position, post-interning. You made it!

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