Why did you decide against doing a summer internship?

Most people travelled instead


Research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 62.8% of graduating seniors had participated in internships during their time in college. More and more entry-level jobs require previous work experience, which is difficult for many students to trying to juggle a full academic load and extracurricular.

Thus internships are seen as the golden ticket to securing your professional future. In fact, it has spawned a whole industry, where students can pay programs to secure them internships at elite companies in order to boost their resumes.

So why would you proactively choose against interning?

Liam Arne, 20, Manassas, VA, International Relations

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“I would say that financial pressures for students like myself make it challenging to accept an internship in an expensive city. I have to live on the money I make during the summer for the rest of the school year, even giving thousands a year to my parents to help support my family. An internship can be unfeasible in the face of economic hardship. It’s another barrier keeping low-income students back.”

Chandler Makepeace, 21, Richmond, VA, English

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“In the end when I was having to choose between an internship and study abroad, it came down to where can I learn more. I might learn more about the field I want to go into with an internship, but I can learn so much more abroad. Study abroad, no matter where you go, will not only give you a better world view, it’ll teach you about yourself. You don’t go through that big of a change and stay the same. Plus, once I’m out of college, I will never have the opportunity to do this again, it was a easy choice.”

Tenley O’Hara, 21, Arlington, VA, Government

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“I went abroad this summer instead of getting an internship because I hadn’t studied abroad yet during my time in college and I wanted a chance to go to a different country and expand my global experience. I feel that traveling abroad this summer forced me to become more independent and adapt to a new and unfamiliar setting. Many people don’t get much of a chance to travel after they graduate. There’s also a lot of financial assistance so it’s a really great opportunity. I was honestly only able to go abroad due to the scholarship and loans I received. I would also like to add that for many students getting an internship isn’t always feasible due to their financial situation. Paid internships are not that easy to come by and I’ve opted to work instead as a lifeguard every summer because of that.”

Kyle Cochran, 18, Ellicott City, MD, Math and Psychology

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“I think spending the summer not working has given me the opportunity to become more independent. With an internship, I would be reporting to a boss constantly and without one I have the time to really solidify the interests that I discovered during the school year. Additionally, it gives me the time to really digest freshman year for all that it was and make a solid plan for my sophomore year.”

Ali Haider, 20, Amarillo, TX, Business

“This summer for me has involved focusing on being more well-traveled rather than well-acclaimed or well-experienced. If you came into the summer reluctant to meet someone new and left the summer reluctant to meet someone new or try something new, you’ve failed at summer.”

Summers are meant to be our time off. So if an internship isn’t for you, don’t feel pressured to do one! Working 40 hours a week is not the only way to expand your horizons.

Go traveling, spend time with friends, learn a new skill. You can do all of those things without having to fetch coffee and sit bored at a desk.