It’s that time of year again. Assignments are due, study groups are meeting and exams are clearly in sight. April, however, seems so much worse than December because college students are subjected to one added stress—the need to find a summer internship.
Internships can be paid or unpaid, depending on the field that you will be working in. The more demand there is for employees in the field, the more you will be paid. There is a big difference between working at a local radio station and working at an engineering firm.
The last internship I did, in my CEGEP years, led to a part-time job that I kept for over a year. The internship was in the field that I thought I wanted to work in—law—but the most important benefit of the internship was not the experience—it was the realization that I did not want to work in the legal field and wanted to stay as far away from lawyers as possible. That internship not only paid me money but allowed me to save the time, tuition and energy I would otherwise have wasted on law school.
Paid or unpaid, internships are a fantastic way to boost your CV and explore career options. Internships can be found via McGill’s career centre, at various online portals, through friends and relatives or even by cold-calling companies and volunteering your services.
Obviously, students have summer options other than internships. Last summer I decided to stay at McGill and took enough credits to graduate a semester early. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done anything different. Sure I missed out on a summer of work but then again, who would hire a first year Economics student to do anything Economics-related? Plus, I love McGill’s intensive courses—week 1: intro, week 2: midterm, week 3: study, week 4: final—and you get to study on the Lower Field almost every day because the weather is beautiful!