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Opinion: What to expect from a DC Internship

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Her Campus American journalists are free to express opinions. The opinions in this article are not representative of Her Campus American’s opinions as an organization.

For many universities in the Washington, D.C. area, the mentality of finding a competitive internship or fellowship has taken hold of students. However, the reality is many of these internships stray from the dream and vision that students hope that they would encounter. 

Many students at American University, work to land multiple internships in their four year academic career. These students tend to chase after internships at Capital Hill, The White House and other political and governmental agencies. 

With these prestigious internships comes the heavy burden of dealing with the brunt of unprofessional leadership, busy work and long commute times. 

“AU is a great school to have an internship at due its accessibility,” said Ashley Smith, a sophomore at AU majoring in CLEG and interning at Capital Hill. “It is a lot of pressure to balance school and interning but that the real world experience makes it worth it.”

This mindset leads to many students at AU and other universities to acquire internships only to burn out from juggling a full course load of classes, clubs and jobs, along with their internships. The main benefits from having an internship during your undergraduate years include, connections and possibly employment after your internship. 

However, if your employment does not offer these benefits, many students have stressed the importance of ensuring that you have time for even a part time internship due to the strain it can cause on school and job commitments. 

With the prestige and connections that come with having an internship in The District, students should also be aware of the sacrifices that they may need to make to make this commitment a sustainable one. However, despite many internships shortcomings, in the long run they can offer ample opportunities in the long run. 

Hannah Arthur

American '25

Hannah is a sophomore at American University and is majoring in Public Health, with a minor in International Relations. She plans to focus on global health and women's and children's bodily autonomy. She is the business director of HCAU and is passionate about equal rights and access to equal education.