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Are internships a waste of time?

In short, no – they are not.

Internships are a great way to see if you actually like a particular field. During university, I have found that studying a particular subject and working in it are two different things. Having completed co-ops in accounting, I know that I enjoy the work. After coming back to university, however, there were some accounting classes that I truly hated. What got me through them is realizing that accounting in the real world isn’t as bad as those classes were.

For some people, it’s the opposite. I know people who have loved their finance classes, for example, done finance co-ops, and realized that they absolutely hated it. So, internships are a great way to experiment.

Internships are also a great way to land a full-time job – and hasten your career progression. In accounting, for example, most employers will hire their co-op students for full-time roles. Because these co-op students have several months of experience with their employer, they start full-time at higher rates of pay than those who are starting fresh.

Oh, and you will most likely (but not always) get paid. That’s always a plus.

NOTE: There is a very nitpicky difference between doing a “co-op” and an “internship”. Co-op students have their salaries almost wholly subsidized by the government, while interns do not. As such, many firms prefer hiring co-op students instead of interns.

Have you done an internship? If so, how was your experience? Thinking about doing an internships? What’s your dream internship/employer? Post below!

3 Answers

  1. Of course internships are a waste of time. If it's unpaid, you're literally treated as a sweatshop worker. It's free labour for them. And don't tell me you gain valuable experience because that's nonsense. Anyone can just fake their experience on their résumé.

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  2. Depending on your career, not taking an internship is like throwing your degree away. Sure you can fake your resume but you can’t fake references and the experiences. If you’re going into something like engineering, try to get as many experiences as you can, they help you get jobs way easier.

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