OPINION: Pay your interns.


College students need money. 

Well actually— everyone needs money. But for this specific column, we’re going to focus on college students. So I’ll repeat. 

College students need money. They also need time to go to class and do school work. On top of all this, they also need hands-on work experience so that when they graduate they are able to find a well paying job so they can— you guessed it— make money. 

How do college students gain this experience? Internships, of course.

Internships are also time-consuming. Depending on the internship, some students find themselves working 25 hours a week. For paid internships, this doesn’t pose as much of a problem. Internships can replace their usual job if need be. 

However, if these internships are unpaid, that poses a problem for students. Because now, in order to make money and keep going to school, they have to balance an internship, a paying job, class times, and school work. It is nearly impossible to balance all of that without sacrificing one’s mental health and see decreasing grades. 

But what else are college students going to do? Say no to those internships? Then have no experience when they enter the workforce?

For the third time— students need money. A lot of college students are paying their own tuition to go to school. Without jobs, they wouldn’t be able to do so. 

But some find themselves handing out free labor and sacrificing their own time to gain experience. Experience is important, especially when you enter into the workforce, but businesses need to make gaining this experience accessible to college students. 

Students shouldn’t have to choose between making money and gaining experience. They shouldn’t have to choose between paying their bills and building their resume. 

Internships are a great way to build connections, learn more about your craft, and make decisions about the future. As a junior in college, I am looking forward to the day I get an internship and am able to get a first taste of what the working world is like in the communications industry. 

Internships are amazing. No one disagrees with that. But unpaid internships are unethical and just plain wrong.