Sorry, but unpaid internships are necessary evils


"I'm broke, I'm exhausted, I already have a million things, and you want me to work for free!?"

[ Views expressed in this article are the author's views. The SLN pays all of its interns and non-staff personnel, including the author of this article.]

Okay, okay, just hear me out. All in all stages after secondary, you perform unpaid work. Document records, extensive testimony, lab participation, lectures and training materials, travel to work and campus-list goes on. We do this as students because we believe that spending time and energy (and risking our mental and emotional health) is an investment in our future

Why can't we apply the same philosophy to unpaid training?

I get this -- you spend all this time in school, you get expensive education, and you're too busy to work more than a part-time job because of the enormous academic responsibilities you have suddenly accumulated. This suggests that unpaid or volunteer work, when you are in school, is an important part of your education. This is a fantastic way to create skills outside of your academic experience, to activate your résumé, and to help you apply your new skills in a professional environment

Look, I didn' t want to take part in volunteering

It wasn't until my fourth year when I realized

It doesn't have to be a full time

A volunteer job can be entirely coincidental. You can offer your services once a week, every two weeks, no matter what you think you can handle. The thing is, volunteering -- they don't pay you, so they can't ask too much of you

For four years, I could offer an employer seven hours a week, because I was already completely overburdened by classes, writing my basic research work, and usually in the fourth year. But because I was a full-time student, my employer was very empathic with my schedule, sometimes even gave me the afternoon, because in my academic life, I was so many others

He didn' t ask for a certain amount of time and let me work from home or between classes of my computer

Kristen Jess, the English and history of students from the University of Ryerson, had this experience during her daily volunteer work

You'll get the skills to survive at work

As I mentioned, I only worked in restaurants all my adult life. Work allowed me to pay my bills on all my undergranns and pumpels a little more during the summer, so she worked for me. However, I would never work in the office, damn it, I wouldn't even do a job I could do. In fact, I could feel bad, taking up paid jobs when I was so incompetent

It enabled me to learn a lot about the industry that I was interested in, while I would have to wait years to get

During my volunteer work, I realized that not only I have the valuable skills that I learned from my degree, I actually had a lot of transferable skills that I developed in my years as a server and a bartender. As long as my volunteer skill is not, these skills were just handed over to me to apply them to something definite. It's my unremunerated job that helped me

Kaitlin Saxon (a student in fashion management at George Brown College) also really appreciates the skills she created in the Visual Merchandise Manager role in West49. "This led me to learn a lot about the industry that I was interested in when I had to wait years to gain experience."

You have to make your resume better, which will help you get a job

It shows the initiative that is being taken to find something to put this creative energy and these skills

I was English. I knew I could write and read and edit style and clarity, but who would want to give me a chance when I had absolutely no experience with any of these tasks?

I'm not the only one working in volunteer work. Kristen, like me, feels more confident that she will resume work with employers because of her voluntary experience. "I think having experience will help you find paid jobs because it shows an initiative that goes somewhere, put this creative energy and these skills, and shows that I have something under my belt-even if it's a relatively small thing," she says

How to find an unremunerated position

Most likely, they know a few people ... that you could use e-mail

After I worked there for six months, they started paying me!

I'm sure you've heard the age-old situations, "you can't get experience without a job, you can't get a job without experience." Well, unpaid situation can be how you get your experience. It should not be complete, but it will give you the skills you need to stand out from the pool of recent hails that are all submerged in the already saturated labour market

I encourage you to look for volunteer opportunities everywhere you can, especially while you're still a student. Because it's a fantastic way to build skills outside of your academic experience, buy your resume, and help you apply your new skills in a professional environment

Look for volunteer opportunities wherever you can, especially while you're still a student

Start volunteering, she'll be there. Happy hunting!

* Views expressed in respect of the author, and not necessarily for the "Student life" or their partners

Holly Lock is a part-time and BA-English-getter program from the University of Ryerson. Good coffee and his followers