Now that the school year is coming to a close, students across the country are deciding if an internship or job is the best option for them this summer. 

An internship is a position for a student to gain experience in a certain field. Internships can be either paid or unpaid, depending on the company. If the internship is paid, in my opinion, it can be categorized as “work experience” on your résumé.

It is ideal for students to get a job during their summer break but internships are swiftly attracting them. Working is always an option for students. When you have a job you’ll always get paid for it; unlike some internships. Teens and young adults are prone to getting a job for this reason.

As a student, you have expenses such as tuition, books, food, and unexpected come ups. Having a job can save you from many unfortunate situations. So, which one do I choose?

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Internship Benefits

An internship is a wonderful opportunity that can make yourself shine to future employers. An internship gives you insight on a possible career field that you wouldn’t get unless you experience it. Another benefit from an internship is the connections you make, especially if you intern at a place you would like to work.

Last semester, I completed an internship with the Nine Network of Public Media, or what most people know as PBS, and I loved it. I’ve always had a love for the field of broadcasting and film. During this internship, I figured out this love isn’t a career for me; it will always be a hobby, though.

This is another benefit of interning, you get a trial run before declaring a major or career. For example, you’re a freshman in college and land a once in the lifetime opportunity to intern at John Hopkins. You go and realize the medical field is not for you; it’s too hectic and fast paced. You found this out before declaring your major and now you can change your major from pre-med. Interning also looks good on your résumé.

Working Benefits

Working during the summer is a norm for students. Working gives you a sense of independence because you are earning your own money. A job is a paid position of regular work; so if you fill out a W2, you have a job. I’ve had two jobs, a retail

A job is a paid position of regular work; so if you fill out a W2, you have a job. I’ve had two jobs: a retail store and a shoe store.

Working gives you insight on the skills you possess. While employed, you also make connections. Your supervisor, managers, and coworkers are all people you interact with and can give you a reference if needed. Working will also help you find out what careers fit best. For example, I was a sales associate and soon realized I didn’t belong in a career where I had to persuade people to purchase things. Just like internships, jobs look good on your résumé.

Working will also help you find out what careers fit best. For example, I was a sales associate and soon realized I didn’t belong in a career where I had to persuade people to purchase things. Just like internships, jobs look good on your résumé.

Depending on your needs and circumstances your summer plans may vary. A high schoolers needs will differ from the needs of a full-time college student. I will focus on high school first then college then I will close with final remarks.

Interning vs. Working in High School

High school is a time to discover yourself and what you want for your future. As a high school student, either one is fine. If your parents won’t allow you to have a job then apply for an internship and vice versa. Both will add to your résumé but be mindful with jobs. To employers many jobs look suspicious; it shows you cannot stay committed to one place. Contrary, the more internships you have the better.

Also, do you know what your major will be? Do you know what schools you’re applying to? Do you even want to attend college? These are all questions you need to start asking yourself now.

If you have no plans to attend college then a job would be best. You can build the relationship and an impeccable reputation now and advance in the company quickly. However, if you do plan to attend college then other questions apply to you. If you are applying to ivy leagues or schools whose acceptance rate is less than 50%, then an internship would be a better choice.

Yes, a job or two will show you have soft skills but an internship will show you’ve made steps to get an understanding of your major. If you apply to Stanford for biology, the admissions directors would rather see you’ve had 3 internships at your local hospitals than you being employed at WingStop for 2 years.

Finally, different majors will require different experiences. Since I keep using medical examples, let’s stick with that. It will be a hard transition if you have no experience in a lab if all you’ve done is handle cash. For me, I plan to be a sociology major; a job where communication is fundamental would be better. Finding a sociology internship is also pretty hard.

Think about this too, do you really want this career? Some will think they want to be a doctor because they like to help sick or hurting people but don’t know what being a doctor is actually like. An internship at a hospital will show you if you can handle all that comes with being a doctor.

Interning vs. Working in College

College is a huge milestone for many; I know it will be for me. With this milestone comes responsibilities… and debts. In 2012, 71% of students from a four-year university had some sort of debt. I believe the same tips for high-schoolers apply to college students.

Do you plan on going to grad school? Are you at the school of your choice? What is your debt looking like? Your debt plays a huge role as to what you do with your summer or free time, but so does your profession requirements.

If you are already $10,000 in debt as a freshman then I highly suggest getting a full-time job for the summer and work as many hours as possible! Yes, an internship will give you experience for a good paying future job, but you don’t want your loans/debts to sit and rack up interest.

Planning to attend grad school is another big one; especially if you plan to attend a different institute from your undergrad. Internships would look good to a grad school. It shows you’re serious about your degree; even though going for a professional degree does show seriousness. Lastly, if you’re not in attendance of your choice school then this one can swing either way. If you’re not there because you cannot afford it then a job is calling you. Work as much as you can so you can not be drowning in as many loans; hopefully you won’t have any. If you’re not there because you didn’t get accepted then I would say try to figure out exactly why you didn’t get accepted. Maybe your application wasn’t strong enough. If this was the case then an internship would send you soaring high.

Lastly, if you’re not in attendance of your choice school then this one can swing either way. If you’re not there because you cannot afford it then a job is calling you. Work as much as you can so you can not be drowning in as many loans; hopefully you won’t have any. If you’re not there because you didn’t get accepted then I would say try to figure out exactly why you didn’t get accepted. Maybe your application wasn’t strong enough. If this was the case then an internship would send you soaring high.

f you’re not there because you didn’t get accepted then I would say try to figure out exactly why you didn’t get accepted. Maybe your application wasn’t strong enough. If this was the case then an internship would send you soaring high.

Overall, your needs and circumstances will determine your fate this summer. Remember, both a job and internship is a blessing and will make you stand out. Know your purpose, your calling, and your needs, the answer will come easy.

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