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Students face choice between internships, jobs

Contributing Writer

Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012

Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2012 17:03

With just a month left in the spring semester, students are beginning to decide how to spend their summer. Many students aren’t deciding between the beach or the pool, but between getting an internship or a retail job.

This past Tuesday, students in the Nicholson School of Communication met and mingled with a variety of organizations like the Amway Center and nonprofit organization Downtown South at the school’s spring internship fair. Some of these companies are still searching for summer interns.

“If you do want experience in the field you’re going after, a summer internship is great because you have all that time; because you’re not taking as many classes, if you are taking summer classes,” said senior advertising/public relations major Sherry Randolph, who is a current intern at Downtown South. “You can devote a lot of your time to honing skills that you haven’t had before.”

She and three other interns from UCF manned the Downtown South table at the fair.

Students at the internship fair were eager to catch the attention of companies in order to gain the experience they need in their areas of interest. Several students said they are seeking or participating in only internships, even if they are unpaid, instead of looking for jobs.

Radio/television major Chris Pinson is solely working on internships right now. His current FOX 35 news station internship in Lake Mary is unpaid.

“Internships are to provide experience and they help you become the most versatile and marketable employee that you can possibly be,” Pinson said. “The experience you get is invaluable for the future.”

An internship can even give a leg-up in the company that a student would like to work full time in the future. According to collegeplus.org, in 2009, 23 percent of college seniors with internships had a job lined up leading up to graduation, something Pinson is hoping to find as he prepares to graduate in the fall.

Other students, like Stephanie Livigni, a psychology major, will be sticking to a summer retail job this year.

Livigni works at the UCF Bookstore and will be staying around for the summer. She said that a student’s progress in his or her academic career plays a big part in deciding between a summer job, like the bookstore, and an internship. She also said that the financial situation of a student can play a big role as well, since many internships start unpaid.

In regards to her own decision to get a summer job, Livigni said money played a big role.

“I definitely was looking for jobs before I started looking for internships,” she said.

For the student who has to work in order to pay bills or tuition during each semester, the decision between a paying job and an internship may be more difficult. But Amelia Guldi, president of Quotes, the public relations club at UCF, has a solution: do both.

Last summer, Guldi had two internships where she worked 40 hours a week, and she also worked a paying job at night. She realizes it is hard work but believes that taking an unpaid internship is also the way to getting paid in the future.

“You probably will get a paid internship down the road because of the skill set that you’ll build that summer,” Guldi said.

She has worked three unpaid internships at companies including Amway, and now has a paid internship at IZEA, a social media marketing company.

Guldi welcomed and helped students sign in at the intern fair along with other Quotes club members, who also said their unpaid internships had turned into paid ones.

As students move into their summer jobs, internships, or both, money will play a large role. But many students will be factoring in future money in their careers as well as the quick money that this summer can bring.

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