Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Hard Part is Over, But the Work Continues

By now, your hard work has hopefully paid off, and you've landed yourself a summer internship. After you finish jumping for joy and finally moving your internship deadlines Excel spreadsheet to your trash folder, sit back down. There are likely a few more details that still need to be ironed out - namely, housing, funding, and receiving academic credit.

Before we go any further though, congratulate yourself. A summer internship is no small feat, and will be an enlightening experience in your professional and personal development. Be proud of this accomplishment - you deserve it! OK, end inspirational speech.

One other disclaimer: if you've managed to snag a paid internship, and one that includes housing or is located close to home, you may not need some of the information in this post. Of course, you can always read for your future summer internship applications, or because you're particularly fond of my witty gif usage.

Housing. One of the best parts about a summer internship, for some people, is the opportunity to live on your own, either at Tufts or somewhere completely new. However, with moving to a new place comes finding a place into which you can move. A good strategy is to apply for summer housing at a college or university near your internship location - this is particularly helpful in big cities, where rent can become exorbitant for a college intern. Our website has some listings of college summer housing prices, organized by city. If your internship is near Tufts, you can always search through the class Facebook pages or ask around for any summer sublets.

Funding. Unpaid summer internships have become something of a controversy lately. According to a recent Forbes article, roughly 35% of summer internships are unpaid, and that number is even higher in the private sector. Even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has weighed in, stating her public opposition to unpaid internships and their lack of economic opportunity for budding professionals. I've held unpaid internships before, and I must admit that while I truly valued the experience they provided, I lamented many times about not being paid for the work. Luckily, Tufts has many sources of funding for internships in almost any discipline (one of the biggest happens to be our very own Career Center Summer Internship grant). Check out these other funding sources through Tufts - for next year. Getting paid to do meaningful, professional work is one of the most rewarding experiences - don't miss out!

This doesn't have to be you.
Academic credit. If all funding sources fall through, getting some form of credit for your internship is still possible. Many academic departments like Community Health, Psychology, and Anthropology offer internship courses designed to give such credit. Other forms of credit are available through employers for specific career fields, like communications or finance. If your internship falls into any of the categories or majors listed on our website, it might be worth exploring the possibility of credit. Receiving academic credit also means your internship will appear on transcripts, which is an added bonus for future job or graduate school applications. In some cases, you may even be able to receive credit for paid or funded internships.

Some of you might be mad at me after reading this post. I can already hear your (respectful) criticisms: "Sean, are you saying that after all this work I put into finding the perfect summer internship, I have to do even more work now? When does the not-working part start??" These complaints are well-founded; however, if you really want to maximize your internship experience, you should figure out housing, funding, and credit options while you still have plenty of time to assess your choices. Hopefully, you'll have some time between finals and your internship (or your internship and the new school year) for the not-working part. If not, there's always retirement.

Until next time,
Sean Boyden
Class of 2017