After reading the article “Take This Internship and Shove It” by Anya Kamenetz, I realized that unpaid internships are a lot like slave work. Before this reading this article, I did not put much thought into internships, how to get one or how they work. I have heard about my friends getting internships and that you have to have a certain amount of hours from an internship before you graduate college. When hearing about unpaid internships, I thought that it was not fair to not get paid, but at the same time I assumed that it must be normal to not get paid considering that the experience you gain from the internship is more valuable than the money you earn from it. After reading Kamenetz’s thoughts about unpaid internships and how it is unfair to students, I could not agree more. It is unfortunate that most companies know that they can get away free labor because most colleges require internships before graduating and students are getting desperate. What students do not realize is that when you get an internship, you most likely have to quit your paying job so you can have time to work for the company that hired you for free. With gas and food prices rising every day, it is very hard to make a living. I cannot imagine having an unpaid internship and trying to survive at the same time. Reading this article benefited me greatly and I feel that every college student should read it prior to searching for internships. Now when I need to find an internship, I know not to settle for an unpaid one.
One of the arguments that Kamenetz mentions in her article is that, “Lost wages and living expenses are significant considerations for the two-thirds of students who need loans to get through college…those students who must borrow to pay tuition are going further into debt for internships” (Kamenetz 191). I agree with this point because personally I have living expenses that I pay for myself. Having an unpaid internship would be unrealistic for me because not only do I have gas, credit cards, and rent to pay for, but I also help my parents with college fees such as books and school supplies. Unpaid internships do not completely prepare you for the real world. How can you possibly learn how to budget your money while maintaining an “adult job” when you’re not even getting paid to do the labor? Life as an adult is about learning how to balance your responsibilities and one of those responsibilities is budgeting your money.
Students and companies need to realize that unpaid internships do more harm to people than benefit them. Once this happens, unpaid internships will be at a low demand and will hopefully go away completely.