The pros and cons of taking on an internship credit

March 16, 2017
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It can be hard to avoid an internship credit if it's mandatory for your degree. But if it's not compulsory, you might want to consider it. If you want to land that awesome grad job and you’ve got an elective to spare, then gaining course credit while interning may be up your alley. Before you search what gigs are available (and whether they’re legit AF), here’s the 4-1-1.

Con: “Unfortunately you did not meet the pre-requisites for this course.”

Securing an internship is tough, but so is getting the course coordinator’s approval – you need their consent to enrol in the course. How? By meeting their WAM/GPA requirement, completing a certain number of units and jotting down your responsibilities if you scored the gig – they need to know if the tasks you’re performing could also be done by a paid employee.

If you get the internship but not the credit, then ask yourself if it’s worth juggling on top of study and work. Otherwise, be ready to enrol in your back-up subject.

If you score both though…

Pro: Say sayonara to one theory-heavy subject

You can either choose to overload or drop a subject. Choose the latter and for one subject only, you can kiss the following promises goodbye: Attending all the lectures – gone. Staying on top of your three 60-page weekly readings – gone. Freaking out over a 3000-word essay with a deadly 50 per cent worth attached – gone.

And remember: One subject down means one step closer to raking them nine to five dollar bills.

Give – or dare I say it, GIF – yourself Nicole Kidman’s Oscars applause.

Con: Prepare yourself for a lot of back and forth

There will be a lot of communication with admin, whether that’s chasing course credits or discussing why you’re only fetching coffees during your placement.

Proof? I emailed the coordinator to receive my six units for an internship, only to receive the automated “Hi, I’m on holiday” message in return. I sent a follow-up, assuming she was done being a culture vulture, but still… nothing.

Heck, I even pulled the “Just in case you missed it” and “Sorry if I come off as rude” cards.

A few exchanges later with the faculty office and bam, I was successfully enrolled in the course – and that was just last week, fam.

Pro: It’s not graded

Winning. The twist? There are assessments – but have no fear because said 3000-word essay ain’t here.

Bets are you will need to send work samples, a reflection journal or two, maybe even a feedback sheet from your fine self and your supervisor.

If you score all satisfactory then not a single dent will be made on your overall grades. *praise hands emoji*

Con: Unpaid work vs part-time work

Asking yourself to choose just one will lead to belting out Natalie Imbruglia’s “Nothing’s fine, I’m torn”.

Undertaking unpaid work experience is an investment into your future, sure, but you also need them coins to cover your “Money can be exchanged for goods and services” moments á la Homer Simpson. Makes cents, right?

Take it from someone who is studying his tush off part-time and interning on the side, while also pinching pennies from his retail job. The struggle could not be any more real.

Pro: You gain CV gold

Let’s get the obvs out of the way: Internships are a great way to learn new skills, gain valuable contacts and realise things Kylie Jenner-style.

Even better, gaining relevant experience makes your LinkedIn profile and your CV look pretty snazzy.

Who knows, if you leave the internship on good terms, your supervisor will happily lend you a letter of reference. Cheerin’.  

Ryan Bautista

Ryan is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza.

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