Should College students be paying for internships?

News Editor Katie Brenzel is distressed by her lack of funds due to her internship expenses. (Tim Lee/Photo Editor)
News Editor Katie Brenzel is distressed by her lack of funds due to her internship expenses. (Tim Lee/Photo Editor)

Students are being cheated.

As a journalism student, I understand and appreciate the value of internships. They are a great opportunity to make connections, and there is no better way to learn a trade than by actually doing it. I get it.

However, here at the College, journalism students are essentially paying to work for free. Let’s face it, most internships are unpaid during the year, especially given the desperate condition of printed media. Though the internship replaces a four-credit class, tuition remains the same as if the student were enrolled in four classes on campus.

Sure the College is close to Philadelphia. Even New York is a viable commute if you’re unusually ambitious or insane. But driving or traveling to these locations a few days a week, exhausts both you and your wallet.

So, not only are you paying regular tuition, but also you’re constantly paying for gas to get to an internship that is supposedly equivalent to a class, which you’d otherwise be able to roll out of bed and arrive to in pajamas.

But hey, who can put a price on experience?

I can.

Two hundred hours of unpaid work, while it is hopefully valuable, is a tremendous dedication of time. If the College provided transportation to internships, perhaps four credits would be an appropriate compensation for work.

Because that is most likely impossible — though entertaining images of the loop bus escorting me to Philadelphia is comical—the College should consider compensating students further or lessen the requirements expected.

A discount in tuition to account for traveling expenses would be acceptable. Even adding a credit or two for the 200 hours of forced labor would be helpful.

Though students have an option to fulfill their internship requirement during the summer, it is with the unfair assumption that students live in or near a location with opportunities available. Let’s say you live in a town unreasonably far from the city, with no mode of public transportation.

Or the opportunities located nearby don’t comply with the requirements of the internship, and are slightly terrible. For many this may sound like an exaggeration, in which case, you clearly haven’t been to Sussex County.

Between commuting, classes and any campus activities you’re able to squeeze in, additional employment will guarantee you a nervous breakdown. So how do you pay to travel to work for free? Who cares, at least you have four credits you’d get anyway by showing up to class once in a while.