Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Unpaid internships never made sense and never will

Going to college is all about making sacrifices and choices, and Point Park is no exception to this rule. Right from the beginning, you choose to sacrifice an air-conditioned dorm room for a completely private space, or vice versa. You choose to sacrifice a potentially fun elective class for an important graduation requirement. We are lucky to have the opportunity for easy access to career advancement opportunities, like job shadows or internships.

At the same time, however, most of us college students unfortunately make a sacrifice between getting the necessary experience in our fields of choice, or sticking with the part-time job that allows us to continue going here. Now, when one thinks about being able to get a trial of the so-called “real world” of a career, working for a company would merit getting paid for the work you do, right?

Unfortunately, even after doing work that is on a similar level to what full-time employees would do, there is a chance that the internship you are required to partake in will not pay you for your time. The saying of “time is money” would not apply here, as instead of time being used to gain money and experience, you’re just losing money and gambling on whether the internship is of any true value to you.

Why are unpaid internships still a practice that happens at all, especially now? It would make more sense if your time spent as an intern was short and infrequent, but it seems that some fail to realize that internships are a commitment. It is not just working a few hours every two weeks and then being done with it after a month passes. Often they can last an entire semester, aligning with the fact that it is a graduation requirement to get an internship here.

While I have prepared myself for this and know how enriching an internship will hopefully be, I should not have to worry about what my life situation will be like because of it. Those who offer unpaid internships must fail to realize that we are sacrificing our own ability to keep ourselves afloat by taking on opportunities that are unpaid. You pay for a college class, and you should not have to pay to work with your time and lost money.

How can internship postings even dare to compete with those offering part-time jobs that not only pay the people that work for them, but tend to be much easier? I know I may need the internship for career experience, but experience alone is not exactly a great selling point when I have to leave my paying job for an entire semester. That is not sustainable, especially for college students who may not have lumps of cash sitting around that they can live off for months.

An internship is not like a vacation either, especially if you’re doing an internship in the middle of the semester – the most common time to do one. You still must go to your classes, do your many assignments and partake in any extra activities you have devoted yourself to, and that internship somehow must fit in somewhere.

We do not deserve to deal with this, Pioneers. Not only do we deserve recognition for the contributions we bring to an internship, we also deserve to be paid for them. This is asking for the bare minimum, and it’s inexcusable that the unpaid internship is still a practice. Think about where you want to spend your time getting your foot in the door of your career; maybe a place that is okay with not paying people if they do not have to is not somewhere you should bother giving any attention to. Other opportunities exist, and if you do not see them now, they will show themselves later.

Do not settle for unpaid work you are not volunteering for. If the “real world” pays you, then so should your internship. After all, you are worth much more than to not be paid for your work.

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