Are internships worth the effort?

Courtesy of CHRISSY SCHNABEL Though internships can be stressful, students agree they’re worthwhile.

Courtesy of CHRISSY SCHNABEL
Though internships can be stressful, students agree they’re worthwhile.

By CLAIRE FOX
For The News-Letter

In addition to balancing academics and social lives, many Hopkins students are also involved in semester-long internships during the school year to gain real-world experience in occupational fields. Students often view their internships as equivalent to an extra class.

Senior Callie Plapinger, an International Studies major, is currently interning for academic credit with the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan membership organization, think tank and publisher.

The council is located in Washington, D.C. so Plapinger commutes for three hours a day, three days a week. As a result, she has to plan her weekly activities carefully to balance her internship, homework and free time.

“I really have to take advantage of doing work and seeing friends on the weekend in order to balance the commute,” Plapinger wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

Last spring, senior Chrissy Schnabel, an anthropology major, worked as a marketing intern for Fila USA, a sportswear company. She assisted the global marketing manager to develop on-site activation programming at sponsored tennis events and apparel collection launches.

She also coordinated a uniform outfitting program for Fila-sponsored junior tennis players and coaches and created an archive for all press and social media mentions for the tennis public relations team.

Schnabel worked twice a week for a total of seven hours per week, so she had to find a compromise between schoolwork and her internship and advises other students to do the same.

“I purposely only took four classes that semester instead of my usual five, so that I wouldn’t get overloaded with work. Because of this I was always able to make time for schoolwork, clubs and a social life,” Schnabel wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I think that it’s important that students approach an internship during the semester as if it was another class. If you’re the kind of student that can’t really handle taking six classes at once, then you probably won’t be able to handle five classes and an internship.”

Senior Charlotte Pomp, an East Asian studies major, is currently participating in a paid internship with RBC Capital Markets, a Canadian investment bank. She is working on wealth management for the Washington Wealth Group out of a Chevy Chase, Md. office. Pomp signed up for multiple once-a-week classes in order to give her time to work and commute but said she has little time for a social life.

“In my sophomore and junior years, I used to be focused more on going out, and now I have no life because all I do is apply for jobs and go to my internship,” Pomp said. “Trying to get into finance from Hopkins is very tough.”

Senior Jenn Roche, an International Studies major, does not have to factor in a commute to her experience interning at the Housing and Urban Development Department of the U.S. Government. However, she instead has to fit in 10 hours of virtual work via email per week.

Despite learning from a previous experience during her sophomore year that substituting an internship for a class allows for more free time, Roche described her current position as a significant addition to her schedule.

“I treat it like a class, so I’m diligent and complete my work each week. It’s really hard to balance everything between classes and working and everything else that comes with being a student,” Roche wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I definitely feel like I have less free time, and I have to really schedule myself.”

Though internships during an academic semester can cause stress due time management and heavy workloads, Plapinger, Schnabel, Pomp and Roche all agree that the benefits of a semester-length internship outweigh the potential stress.

“I think the internship is great because it’s pre-professional experience and my bosses are phenomenal,” Pomp said. “[Students] should definitely intern because it’s helped so much with my apps to full time jobs right now.”

According to Roche, not only will participating in an in-semester internship give students occupational experience that cannot be learned in a classroom, but it can also build students’ character to show to future employers.

“I recommend other students do an internship to gain more experience and boost your résumé. It shows that you can handle a lot of responsibilities at once,” Roche wrote. “Just make sure not to overload yourself!”

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