Internships provide an opportunity to expose yourself to a career that matches your academic, personal interests as well as your skills. Additionally, skills gained from practical experience will make you more valuable as an employee.

The word ‘Internship’ fascinates the students as academic institutes put this idea in students’ mind that if you don’t have an internship, you won’t get a good job and you won’t have the experience you need to survive in the real world. But, I wonder, is it all worth it?

During graduation, students have high expectations for skills and experience gained during internships and started thinking about how to get an internship in a reputable organization.  However, the phase of searching for an internship is a stressful process and the “I” word seems to be a dark cloud that constantly hovers over the student body.

For instance, in 2017, I happened to intern at a reputable media organization that claimed to run proper internship drives and had a decorated page on its website devoted to appraisals from former interns. One thing that I’ve learnt during this phase was that companies do not take their interns seriously, and as a result, students often waste entire summers or free time ‘working’ at their internships.

The lack of instructions, mentorship and exposure made me feel like it was my worst experience.  Employers today are not willing to invest in students and interns – they do not want to play their role in the hope of improving the pool for the future.

After all, it is not uncommon for interns to spend the entire day in preparing a report that does not need to be photocopied, all in the hope of looking busy. Unfortunately, most of the organizations in Pakistan didn’t pay any attention to grooming and learning of their interns. Most of the time interns just spend their time in less important doings like labelling the files which have nothing to do with their future job or skills. 

I am not making the argument that interns should be given more duties than they can deal with; I only ask of companies to recognise that students can contribute to their organisation. Companies need to recognise that students sacrifice their free time to work for them at a negligible stipend, or for free. Thus, their potential and willingness to work need to be appreciated and cultivated accordingly.

On the other hand, there are also companies that give you real responsibilities. Many of the big, or well-known, companies give their interns real work, with real impact on the product or company roadmap; they treat you like an employee for the duration of your internship. These are the internships that truly have an impact on helping land your first job.

There are also some benefits of being an internee.

  • Internships are a great way to build a professional network of contacts.
  • It could boost your confidence and play a role in personality development.
  • Internships are a great way to improve your resume.
  • For the intern, knowing what their job will entail by first completing an internship can make the transition to a full-time position a smooth one.
  • Basically, completing an internship will allow you to develop strong teamwork skills balanced with the ability to work independently.

However, the article clearly reflects my point of view that most internships are just a waste of time as my experience was worst of its kind. I am not saying this is the case for every student. A lot of students take multiple internships and get great jobs out of college and lead successful lives. But, I think there needs to be an alternative for the students that don’t have the time or can’t afford to work for free.