I graduated with my BA in 2019, and having come from a lower class family, I relied on financial aid and working 30+ hours a week to get through school. Now, with a sudden abundance of free time, I have applied for a few unpaid virtual internships to fill some gaps in my experience.
I expected to get many questions about my education and experience, but I kept getting the same question from interviewers, usually asked with the same assuming intonation in their voice: "Why didn't you do this while you were in college?" I don't mind explaining my background to interviewers or employers, as living in poverty truly made me the strong resourceful person I am, but I was taken aback by their default assumption that participating in an unpaid internship during college was an option. I was taking 40 credit hours, working 30 hours/week, and maintaining a 3.2 or higher GPA in my college career; the idea of devoting time in my week to something that was’t going to pay my bills is absurd.
This got me thinking, and I know I’m not alone in this, that unpaid internships are divisive, institutionalized forms of classism, and they give the financially stable students an upper hand in the job market before they even graduate. (I could extend this argument to studying abroad, but I think I’m making my point very clear.)
I would love to hear anyone else’s stories of internships, studying abroad, or experiencing poverty through education, and what you think about the idea of an unpaid internship as a default for an average student.
NOTE: Please be kind in the comments. I am not slandering anyone who had the opportunity to intern or study abroad; in fact I’m happy for you and I’d love to hear about your experience after college as well. However, I do want to open the conversation for people in all levels of wealth to understand this issue as a whole and how it affects everyone.
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I’m a back up person
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I'm looking to make no less than $22/hr.
Should I still list that amount even if the job posting the pay is $25/hr?