“So, what are your plans after college?” Seems like a standard question, right? Ideally, “looking for a job” would suffice, but judging by today’s methods of employment, ”job” is often replaced by “internship”, which I have lightheartedly substituted with “internsh*t.” Personally, I don’t think the term “internship” should exist in a post grad’s vocabulary.
I think internships served their ultimate purpose back in college. They provided students with a platform to experiment and gain experience in the professional world. Advisers pushed them, which resulted in an accumulation of college credits and bulked up resumes. Some of us even gained valuable experience and managed to network some priceless connections for references.
But, let’s face the facts, college wasn’t the most realistic portrayal of what society had in store. Sure, there was struggle in the form of challenging classes, a heavy workload and the lingering uncertainties relating to our futures, but overall, our meals were prepared for us, our friends were only two steps down the hall, and the alcohol flowed cheap. As post grads, we try desperately to make ends meet because our independence is at the mercy of it all. With the majority of internships being unpaid or unreliable when it comes to landing full-time employment, it seems as though they are an unrealistic solution to our needs.
Not to mention, internships are a fairly new concept. These programs were first implemented in colleges during the late 70’s and 80’s, according to Forbes. They were served to provide course credit and a head-start in the job market. Although apprentice style partnerships aren’t a unique concept in the business world, they once guaranteed training and placement, where as in today’s society they hold less structure.
So why are the majority of us post grads still putting up with this nonsense? Well, most difficult situations require a leap of faith and in this economy, internships seem like the most practical approach towards landing a job for many vs. the unemployed route. Heck, when you have some 20 somethings going to graduate school just because they can’t find anything else, you know times are desperate. While we aren’t being forced to provide employers with free labor, it’s disheartening that there aren’t better options. Many of us are afraid that we’ll never get a foot in the door without these internships, which could ultimately delay the hiring process even more.
In my opinion, unpaid internships should be made available exclusively to college students and taken full advantage of during this time. If we can somehow designate the internship demographic to consist solely of college students, then perhaps we can raise the bar and encourage more companies to consider recent graduates for entry-level positions. This would actually end up salvage the reputation of internships as learning tools, as opposed to the scrutiny of them being an excuse for free labor.
The youth of America should be able to rest assured in their academic achievements, knowing that despite the uncertainty of how much time it will take for them to find a job, they can eventually look forward to reaching their employment goals and earning a salary necessary to sustain life. In the meantime, we can earn money working less ideal jobs while we search for that entry-level position, instead of wasting time, gas money, and energy on the false hope of internships.
About the author:
Rachael Peskanov is a 20 something writer, with a passion for life, 80’s music, and oil painting. Currently she resides near New York City, gathering inspiration from budget living, random subway conversations, and senior citizens. She aspires to become a bestselling fiction author & have one of her works transformed into a film produced by Steven Spielberg.
Interested in contributing to The Real Post Grad? Visit our contributor page to learn more.