Making copies, running the boss’s errands and picking up coffee for the entire office typically describes internships in movies and real life, but students should get what they deserve, even if it’s not a paycheck.
Taking an unpaid internship should never result in belittling your talents, your charisma or your capabilities. Volunteering for a company and having the willingness to learn and work without pay should only speak volumes of who you are, where you are heading and in favor, give you experience that will add to your value.
After reconnecting with a friend after summer break, one of my first “catching up” questions was how her summer internship went. I expected to see excitement on her face and hear stories about what she got to do, but instead, she told me about bosses who took advantage of her time and had zero respect for her position as an intern.
What was supposed to be a summer of building her résumé turned into trying to kill her five-hour long shifts by spinning around in her office chair, leaving the office to take care of other people’s responsibilities and wishing she was given actual work.
Although you may not be receiving a paycheck every two weeks, it does not make you without value. Interns are as much an asset as a staff member, and they should be treated as such.
The purpose of an internship is to teach and equip you with experience that will further your future. If the internship you are in is not giving you projects, including you in meetings or providing you the opportunity to grow or work with the company or in the field you are majoring in, then leave because your time is too valuable.
The clock is ticking on your college career, and future employers want to see experience. Working hard in every area of your life is what will make you stand out among the other applicants and the internship you are in should take the responsibility of equipping you seriously.
While looking for an internship consider the company and ask yourself what you want out of it and see if they are capable of giving it to you. Research the internship program and see if it is worth your time. Your time is valuable. Do not let the title of “intern” turn into a word defined by chores, coffee or a complete waste of your time.