The wrath of unpaid internships


Allison Camp

College students go to a university in order to become more successful and make more money. For some college students, both cannot happen at the same time while they are still in school. For a lot of majors to be successful, students must complete at least one internship-many of which are not paid positions. This results in a lot of stress over how one can pay for items such as books, food, tuition and fun activities. Advisors promise students that if they get an internship, their likelihood of getting a job after graduation increases. Therefore, many students debate on whether or not it is worth getting an unpaid internship.

This topic of unpaid internships has become complicated to say the least. They have been considered “learning experiences,” therefore people are not getting paid for their labor.

According to CNBC, “Unpaid internships have become a controversial topic. Some argue they provide valuable opportunities for young people to learn about an industry, while others critique the practice as an excuse to exploit free labor from young workers eager to get a foot in the door.”

From personal experience, with having a total of two unpaid internships, it is necessary that they become a thing of the past. In this day and age the cost of living and the cost of a college education is too high for a student to be able to pull off working an unpaid internship, while trying to balance a social life and possibly another job. It just ends up being too much, whereas, if the internship was paid, everything would be a lot easier and a second job would not be necessary.


If an intern were to make minimum wage over a summer, working 40 hours a week for about 12 weeks, they would make close to $4,500. If the intern is unpaid, they are missing out on a pretty large amount of money. For some, that is the cost of their dorm, their house off campus or even the cost to get them enough food to eat throughout the year.

Students who choose to do an unpaid internship usually have an additional job because they need to make money. This, causes them to not be able to focus all their attention on the internship, especially if the internship is full time and they have an additional part time job on the side. If their attention is focused elsewhere or they are just physically and mentally drained, the unpaid internship is of lesser educational value because they are not focusing all their attention on it.

Students should be able to figure out whether doing an unpaid internship was worth it or not when it comes to graduating and nding a job. If they nd a job right away, then it was worth it. If the process takes longer than usual or they do not earn more than the average entry-level position, then maybe they will reconsider whether or not getting paid for a whole summer was worth it or not.

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