Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Hello again avid readers, I hope your Thanksgivings left you full of turkey and good tidings as we begin the holiday season.  However, not only is this the holiday season, but it is also prime time to start applying for internships…a lot of internships.  Regardless of your success in the endeavor to apply for internships, you should all be aware of the two major types that exist.  Paid internships, which are great and  unpaid internships, which are still great.  So brace yourself, hold on to your stockings, and read closely as we begin to delve deeper into the topic.  With that said…Allonsy!

Why are internships under “alternative education” you ask?  Simply put, an internship typically happens outside of a school setting, which is an alternative to a school-based internship.  You can learn a great amount more in an internship than you would have in classroom.  Why?  Internships give you experience working with others in a field that you are interested in.  Therefore, every action you take while performing your duty has real world consequences.  Gone are the days of simulations of demonstrations that you would find in a college classroom, the internship will serve as a small introduction to what working in your respective field will really be like.

Before delving into paid and unpaid internships there if is one fact that needs to be stated.  REGARDLESS OF THE MONETARY COMPENSATION, AN INTERNSHIP IS AN INTERNSHIP.  I know what you are thinking. But what if I want to be compensated for the amount of work I do?  Compensation does not have to be solely defined by monetary value.  For unpaid internships, you will be compensated in a variety of ways.  Connections will be made, experience will be gained, friendships will be formed, and resume’s will be stronger.

While a paid internship also offers many of the compensatory aspects mentioned above with an added monetary bonus, remember that deciding against an internship because it’s unpaid will void you of valuable experience and connections that you will need in the future.  When choosing between the two types of internships you have been offered, try not to evaluate based on pay (at least at first), but evaluate instead based on how much experience and how many connections the different opportunities will grant you.

Paid internships are a fantastic way to gain real life knowledge about your perspective field while also paying you monetary compensation for the vast amount of work you will do.  If you can acquire a paid internship, then by all means take it.  Not only will you learn copious amounts of material, but you will gain excessive real life experience in your field while also padding your piggy bank and resume simultaneously.  However, there are far less paid internships available than there are of unpaid internships, so do not feel bad if you are only offered an unpaid internship position.  Instead, be excited because regardless of the money, you will still be getting valuable experience.

Unpaid internships are, just like paid internships, a fantastic way to explore your field in real life.  While, the monetary aspect has been removed from the position, there are far more unpaid internships in existence because of this.  More internships = more chances to acquire one.  The experience you gain in these will be vital when applying for jobs as employers like to see that you have experience working in this sort of field before they choose to hire you.  Besides, paid or not, an internship will get you out of house for the summer.  You will get to see new parts of the country or even new parts of the world regardless of your internship type.

Now that the stigma of “paid internships are better” has been dispelled, I provide one last piece of advice.  APPLY FOR MULTIPLE INTERNSHIPS IN YOUR FIELD WHETHER THEY BE PAID OR UNPAID.  Trust me, don’t apply to just a handful, apply to way more, and chances are you are bound to get one.  With that said…Until next time!

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the author

Carlton Smith is a junior at the College of William and Mary currently majoring in Government. He loves to sing and dance and is involved with one of his school's A Cappella groups known as DoubleTake. He has served as the Class of 2015's Vice President for the past three years.

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