Securing the Bag: Paid Internships versus Unpaid Internships

When it comes to securing the bag on a college campus, sometimes there are barriers blocking you from the big picture. Sometimes it’s those hard classes you’re required to take to receive your diploma and advance in life. Other times it’s the internships. In some departments on college campuses, whether that’s Journalism, Engineering, or even Science, some require their students to have an internship under their belt before graduation. In those cases, students try to find the best internship that meets all their standards so they’re prepared to take on the real world.

    When there come internships, the number one question comes up. “Does the internship include pay.” The majority of the time, students prefer paid internships over volunteer internships. Mainly because you’re getting two out of one, money and experience. Others are happy with either and just want to gain the experience to help them progress in life. With that said, a survey was conducted on Hampton University’s campus on paid internships versus volunteer internships. Several students were asked a series of questions. The questions were, Was the internship paid? if so do you feel like that made you work harder? If not do you feel like pay would’ve made you work harder? Lastly, did you learn a lot from the internship?

    The responses were half and half. A hand full of students said that their internship was paid and they felt obligated to work harder because they knew a paycheck was waiting for them at the end.

“I feel like because it was paid, I felt a greater sense of responsibility because I could potentially have a full-time job after college. If it wasn’t paid and more of a volunteer internship then I probably would have been more relaxed and took it for granted,” said Criminal Justice major, Khalil Gary. Another student who had a paid internship felt the same way but with a different perspective.

    “I personally wouldn’t work for free. Having a paid internship itself didn’t make me work harder. What made me work harder was the opportunity to work for the company after it was over,” said Marketing major, Geoffrey McCullough. He later added, “Being paid definitely makes you pay more attention to your work as well as keep you on your toes while on the job”.

 So, it seems as if paid internships have a greater effect on how hard college students put into their work. They work hard but when money is put into the equation, they’re more likely to push themselves harder because they know something is waiting at the end with the experience piece.

On the other hand, some students don’t have a problem with an unpaid internship. Some feel as though the purpose of the internship is more so for the experience, not the money.

     “If my internship was paid I feel like my motivation would’ve lasted a lot longer but I’m grateful I got the internship because it taught me that you have to work for what you want and sometimes you have to sacrifice things to get to the ultimate goal,” said Journalism and Communication major, Asia Johnson.

     Overall, internships are put in place to help people get to experience whatever they plan to do in the near future. Sometimes it requires you to sacrifice pay or other things in order to get closer to your long or short term goal. No one ever said securing the bag was an easy thing. With time and patience, the bag will definitely be secure plus many more!