The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Money Matters: Unpaid internships

Money+Matters%3A+Unpaid+internships

Professor Erkis, the start date of my summer internship at a bank has been pushed back to July 15 and now they are telling me the internship will be unpaid. I don’t have any “real” work experience so I was really excited about this paid internship. The problem is that I need the money. The place at the shore where I worked last year asked if I could come back, but I don’t know what to do. What do you think? Lucy H. ’21 finance major.

Lucy, I am sorry that your internship has been changed so significantly. This is a common situation many students find themselves in due to the coronavirus crisis. In normal times, I advise against taking unpaid internships as they are unfair to students and only should be taken as a last resort – when paid internships are not available. This summer is far from normal, so I can understand how the bank may be thinking it is doing you a favor by still bringing you in to gain experience instead of just canceling the internship.

The summer after junior year is an important time to have an internship. Yes, it’s a resume builder, but also an opportunity to show the company you have what it takes to be a full-time employee. The hope is that by the end of the summer, you leave with an offer for after graduation. In my opinion, you should try to find a way to work at the bank in some capacity, if you can, for those reasons.

Since you say you need the money and the internship is unpaid, I would try to find a way to both work at the bank and work somewhere else to make some money. This may be easier said than done as you said your previous job is at the shore and the bank is likely in the city. Perhaps you could arrange to work at the bank in the mornings and then leave to work at the shore job in the afternoon. It sounds tough, but I feel the contacts and possible long-term prospects at the bank deserve some extra effort to make it work.

If that is not possible, then looking for a more local job and working at the bank would be a possibility. Or, maybe work a ton of hours before the bank internship starts to make the money you need. My view is that in this circumstance, doing whatever you can to make it work is worth the effort. I have to say that if this was a normal situation, I would likely suggest you look for another internship and not take the unpaid one, but that seems very unlikely in today’s environment.

My final thought is that going the extra mile to make this work will look great on your resume. Employers are looking for people who have potential, are hard-working and willing to do what it takes to get things done. If you end up in long drives back and forth to the shore this summer, keep telling yourself that making this work will be worth it in the long-run.

Anna Lubomirski:

As a student who just finished their junior year, I understand how essential an internship experience is in regards to finding a full-time job after graduation. That is why I would say that doing the internship at the bank is a must, even if the circumstances are less than ideal. It is very unfair, but your future career will thank you later. The suggestions Professor Erkis gives are worth exploring. I would also recommend learning the three money-saving habits outlined in our last article. I think that they would help manage what you do earn more effectively and then you won’t have to work as many hours at your summer job.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *