Poor college students. We are constantly being exploited, whether by Joe Francis, of Girls Gone Wild fame, credit card companies, or The Man. Now we’ve got another exploiter, in the form of internships.
Sonia Smith, a former intern, writes a terrible — TERRIBLE — piece of drivel for her former Mas’ah, Slate.com. This is some real sub-par high school journalism shit here.
Slate was great (honest!), but I’d have much preferred a paycheck to the course credit. … But fulfillment won’t put money in your pocket. The credit I got for my internship was one of 19 that I accumulated above my school’s required number. And the credits are worthless for a lot of students: Because of the rise of Advanced Placement exams, savvy overachieving freshman (the same ones who tend to chase after internships) enter college with more credit hours than any previous generation.
Yes, Sonia, that sounds awful. But here’s the catch: We’d all like to make vast amounts of money for the work we do. However, there are trade-offs that we make in life. These trade-offs can often be measured in opportunity costs. Getting an internship at a high powered company may not fill your pockets with gold bullion, but it will add an impressive line to your resume and allow you to network with professional mucky-mucks, some of whom might find some space in their on-line publication for your ignorant whining.
Smith isn’t the first to deride internships. Anya Kamenetz, author of the apparently abysmal Generation Debt, has been making a career out of it. Go to her blog and weep tears of anger. Anya Kamenetz is like an Ailee Slater with a book deal and professional cred. Will Wilkinson says all that needs to be said about Kamenetz here (hat tip: The Agitator)
So I wonder, if internships are so terrible, why do college students apply for them? Or do I not understand Kamenetz and Smith’s point altogether?
Man, it’s, like, totally bullshit that we college students have to work within this capitalist system that exploits us so that these rich weasels can simply get richer. What we need to do is unionize the youth, and topple the power structures that feed the dominant paradigm … Oh, shit, I’m late for my brunch date with Jann Wenner at Le Cirque.
There must be people who read this blog who have gotten internships while in college. How were your experiences, and did you find them helpful in the future?