Editorial: Can Too Many Internships Be a Bad Thing?
Published: Friday, January 28, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 03:02
Georgetown students take on a lot. Perhaps they take on too much at times. But between running to internships and running to class, they may be missing out on some of the quintessential college experiences that make these four years so unique.
One of the most commonly cited attractions of coming to a school like Georgetown is, of course, the location and the many opportunities it brings. Therefore, it is only natural for students to pursue internships in Washington, D.C., during the semester.
Students at other schools simply do not have access to many of the employment opportunities available to Georgetown students. Our location is a major selling point and for some careers, particularly the Capitol Hill tracks, holding several internship posts leads to long-term success. There's certainly a lot to be said for completing one, or several, internships during the school year. But how much of college life are students missing by trying to balance the stress and commitment of a full-time credit load and a mini-professional position?
The undergraduate college experience can only happen once. The basketball games, the jogs down to the monuments, the college parties and the caffeinated all-nighters — they're all part of what makes "college" college and the Georgetown experience specifically so memorable. While some students end up forgoing extracurricular activities in favor of internships or accepting lower grades because of a lack of time, others try to do it all. But are these ambitious type-A's really fully investing themselves in these experiences? Many seem to stretch themselves too thin.
Internships are a good thing. They offer first-hand immersion in a job setting and are also, more generally, a positive learning experience. But Georgetown students' obsession with internships — an obsession not always present at other universities, partly because of location — may be costing them too much. It's not about whether students do internships during the year, but about how many they take on and how much of life they breeze through in the process.
The professional world will always be there. College won't. As students pursue the perfect internship, they should also be careful not to miss too much of what makes these four years — not just in D.C., but on the Hilltop — so special.
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