A summer with a purpose: chooseing to work or intern

By JoAllie Paluchak

As the Spring 2017 Edinboro semester reaches its final weeks, there is an unavoidable question every college student faces — what will I do over the summer? To clarify, the summer for Edinboro college students extends from the middle of May to the end of August. It is roughly four empty months to do with what we choose. There are several routes in which one can approach these vacant months, such as, by working, engaging in internships, or pursing own personal interests outside of societal institutes. However, these options are dependent on a person’s major, year as an undergraduate student, experience, opportunity, location and personal connections. Hypothetically though, if given the choice of traditional working to earn money or an internship relevant to your career, which is the ideal option?

From a working perspective, there are numerous of places and roles that an individual can occupy. Jobs can vary from working in food atmospheres, to hospitality and retail. Regardless, working will supply you with a steady paycheck either every week or every two weeks, depending on the establishment. Thus allowing you to maintain necessary bills and alleviate some pressure from paternal or familiar figures that help you financially. In conjunction, another positive aspect of choosing to work is the ability to become versatile in different trades outside of school. These skills can be anything such as, communication with others, cohesive team work and work ethic. These skills or social “smarts” are vital in any career and are not taught exclusively in the classroom. Work gives an individual a chance to work on communication in real life. Moreover, work ethic is more than just staying on top of school assignments; it is about balancing certain societal roles and being able to maintain a social and professional life at the same time. Working challenges this equilibrium. A possible downfall is the inability to focus on future goals and careers due to working baseline jobs that may not have anything to do with the degree you are looking to achieve.

Conversely, internships provide undergraduate students an optimum opportunity to focus on their future careers and gain valuable experience. Students who participate in internships are able to gain connections in the field and knowledgeable experience that surpass their peers. Furthermore, taking the summer to be career oriented allows an individual to evaluate their education and path they are on. For many students who are not positive of their major or choices professionally, an internship puts textbook definitions to the test and allows the student to see the reality of the job. For the past two summers I have been fortunate enough to get paid for working at a social services agency directly relating to my future profession and I would assert my time there was far more realistic and informational than any class I have taken thus far. Real scenarios, real people, real agencies, real hours are all aspects of the job we are unable to understand in a classroom setting. Real career experience is grossly underrated.

Whether you participate in working or in an internship, those opportunities are yours. Make the best of the chance you have been given and complete each day with supreme intent and purpose.

JoAllie Paluchak is a staff writer for The Spectator.

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