This editorial is written in response to last week’s opinion piece, “Summer internships: a necessary evil”.
Simply rebuttling last issue’s article would be impossible. Contrary to what some may argue, there is no such thing as an incorrect opinion.
However, I feel obligated to expose some of the factual errors and stereotypes which slipped into the piece.
Internships are neither evil nor necessary. Certainly, the importance of experience has increased since the recession.
So far as I have seen, employers do not take a second glance at bare resumes. I have personally seen a pile of shredded resumes fill a recycling bin.
And while the article is correct that connections play a role in the application process, networking is nowhere near the most important factor in hiring decisions.
To say that this often is an overriding factor is a fallacy. When it comes to job applications, achieved merit is- thankfully- much more important than ‘knowing the right people’.
In addition to this, internships are not necessary for all students. Some employers in the sciences may accept a students with little experience, as in some fields internships are sparse and competitive.
However, some areas require prior experience of their applicants. Students seeking work in the social sciences or finance may feel the pressure of the hunt.
I can say from experience that seeking internships can be immensely stressful and frustrating. Last summer, I sent in over 20 internship applications. Every rejection message and empty-inquiry left me feeling less hopeful about a summer internship.
Luckily, I managed to snag a paid internship, somewhat of a chimera these days.
And in the 10 weeks I worked there, never once did my employers ask me to fetch coffee or spend hours by a copy machine. Instead, I prepared Keynote presentations, spearheaded my own projects, and created a resource file for future interns at my boss’ behest.
My experience may seem like an anomaly to some. It seems many people believe internships are a diluted form of slave labor, that interns must complete menial tasks without pay.
Is this why people think internships are evil? Do students base their perceptions of internships on these stereotypes?
I hope this article reaches some of the many worried, inexperienced students on this campus. I hope that they do not think internships are evil, or that they are necessary for success.