The debate on college internships has raised contrasting views over the years. Some internship supporters believe that internships form the basis of a good career since they help students in transition from classes to the practical and professional world. However, some people argue that internships cause more harm than good to most students. Despite the rush for internships by many college students, they are not necessarily the basis of success. College internships should be optional to students because students have different backgrounds and plans for their future.
According to Jennifer Halperin, Internship colleges are those that do not offer payment. Students have basic needs and they require a source of income apart from the support they get from their parents. If they take the unpaid internships, they are likely to find it difficult to provide for their personal needs. Students can use the time they go on unpaid internships to find paid jobs. When studying business, we must learn how to earn the money while we are still young, and college years are the ideal time.
Internships are also a waste of time for most students who have taken study loans to repay them when they get jobs. Some students have a financial backing from their families and pay no bills; therefore, they will find it easy to move from internship to internship. Some courses and colleges require their students to undertake mandatory internships. This could amount to an extra semester or even a year in courses such as medicine. The time spent on these unpaid internships inconveniences students who have loans to repay. For these students, they cannot seek paying jobs to help them settle their debts . Furthermore, students who have to undertake mandatory internships have to delay the time to graduate. This is an unrealistic policy because students can still get the necessary experience after graduating and finding the jobs they want.
Kamenetz stated that “an internship doesn’t teach you everything you need to know about coping in today’s working world” (584). Some college students pursue certain courses, but end up getting employed in a totally different profession. If students are required to undertake internships, it will be of little or no value. The value of an internship is to help the student gain valuable experience in the profession that they intend to specialize. Research studies show that, high percentage of college students are not sure what profession they want to work in. Therefore, internships are not always helpful to these students because whatever they learn as interns will be useless when they get employed.
Internships are also not a suitable solution for preparing college students for professional jobs. According to Kamenetz, “unpaid internships are not jobs, only simulations. And fake jobs are not the best preparation for real jobs” (584). Interns sometimes are more overworked than the professional employees at the workplace. They spend most of their time carrying out errands that have no relationship to the real job they intend to do in future. They spend time working on routines. This is a bad experience, which can even give the student a negative mentality concerning the profession work.
Internships are useless if they are imposed on students, they will perform best when something they do is according to their will. However, some colleges have a policy where internships are mandatory. Such internships may not be useful because students are forced to do something they are not ready to do. They will undertake the internship as an appearance and gain very little from the experience. Therefore, it is important to ensure that college students go for internships only if they are willing to and their interest is confirmed .
Another weakness of internships is they are disadvantage on the economy and the labour market. Internships cause an oversupply of labour in the economy. This means the number of people willing to work in the economy for little or no pay is quite high. According to Kamenetz, “Moreover, a recent survey by Britain's National Union of Journalists found that an influx of unpaid graduates kept wages down and patched up the gaps left by job cuts.”(585). This is a clear indication of how internships have distorted the labour market.
There is a friend who studied Finance in Saudi Arabia. He is an example of the students who have benefited from internships. He went on several internships in many countries around the world, so he learned a lot of skills such a communication and how to deal with an international business. He gained valuable experience which was by his choice after graduating, so he found it beneficial to him and it helped him to get a good job in one of the largest companies in the country.
The experience of some interns such as the example above is an indicator that internships can be beneficial and actually be a basis for one’s career. According to Halperin, “I think unpaid internships are almost always a valuable experience, especially for students in college. It really is up to the student to make the most of the internship. In most cases, I think employers are interested in pushing interns to the limits to see if they are valid candidates to be hired someday.”(589). Internships provide students with the opportunity to put into practice what they learned in class. It also gives them the chance to interact with experienced professionals and learn how to manage themselves in the real work. The benefits of college internships can be long lasting because the experience gained is one of a lifetime . Furthermore, the internships are opportunities for college students to network with professionals and meet people with similar interests as themselves. Some people who started as college interns ended up going back to the organizations they worked as interns or earned permanent jobs due to the networks they made as interns.
Despite the fact that internships have some positive impacts on the future of college students, college internships have more negative impacts than positive. Internships have flooded the labour market, reduced wage rates and lowered the quality of production in the economy. Mandatory college internships do not benefit students because most students undertake them as a formality rather than what they are meant to help them achieve. Internships also waste time since some students have to spend an extra semester as interns before graduation. This creates repayment problems for those who had acquired loans to pay fees. Furthermore, internships promote dependency as students continue depend on their parents for finances rather than earn theirs. Therefore, internships should be entirely optional because they add little value to the life and professionalism of college students.
Anaya Kamenetz “Take This Internship and Shove It” Patterns for college writing. Pages 583-585.
Jennifer Halperin “ No Pay? Many Intrest Say, “No Problem” “ Patterns for college writing Pages588-590.