Cold hard cash beats internships

Believe it or not, summer will be here again soon enough. Summer is a time to do many different things, but many of us spend a fair amount of time at a job or an unpaid internship. It is a big decision to make when it comes to preparing for your future. You can do the internship, get experience in the field you want to go in, put it on your resume or you can work at that part time or full time job for money but gain no experience in your field. Like the contestants in “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” I say take the money and run.

There are three possibilities when making the decision. The first is to put all of your time in the part-time or full-time job and earn some money that you can use for the upcoming semester. The second is to put all of your time into the unpaid internship and get that experience in your field, making you connections later in life. The third one is to put some time into both, but you risk not getting enough money or experience.

Two years ago, I decided to make my summer revolve around both. My job was washing dishes and my unpaid internship was camerawork for a live stream for the Syracuse Chiefs. At times it was frustrating because my employer needed a reliable person on weekends while my fellow interns wanted me there because I made a long day easier for them with fun conversations.

I was lucky with scheduling because I only did home games for the Chiefs and the schedule would be made before the first of the month. After that schedule was out for my internship, I would tell my employer that she could schedule me when I was not working games. To try to please both parties, I worked an equal amount of Saturday and Sunday shifts. If there was an odd amount of shifts, the tiebreaker would be for the job.

Last summer, I decided to put all of my time into my job and leave the internship off the summer list. In hindsight, I could have done both, but I wanted an average of 28 hours of work per week at minimum wage as opposed to sporadic hours for zero dollars. My decision was validated even more when I received a raise in mid-June and the checks got slightly bigger for the weeks to come. As the school year came closer, I put some of my earnings into a retirement account. It was something I could do at anytime, but I decided to start it when I had the money available and some left over to bring to school.

Had I decided to go with the internship only, I would have less money to spend in college until I received paychecks from my on-campus job. Yes, the people would have been just as great and I would have gotten valuable experience, but I valued money more this past summer.

The way I see it, the job benefits you in the short run and the unpaid internship benefits you in the long run. If you can find a paid internship, more power to you. Each case is different for each person, but I would opt to take the money and run.