The longest job interview ever. A safe space for trial and error. An affirmation that you, just a 20-something, have promising potential and coveted skills.
For many young people, this is the modern internship. College students and even high schoolers can immerse themselves in a professional work environment, gain skills expected of entry-level employees and learn from the best and the brightest in their fields.
But often there’s a catch—you’ll get a chance to enjoy all these perks, but you won’t be paid for the work you do.
The debate over the legality of underpaid and unpaid internships intensified this summer after a federal judge ruled on June 11 that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated federal and New York state minimum wage laws for not paying two Black Swan film interns.
For young people looking for internships in Maryland, the outlook is bright. Maryland-area college students, such as Kabish Shah, Christie Smith and Kelly Wright enjoyed paid internships this summer that helped them affirm their calling, connect with their community and learn how to succeed in a professional office. Even Karen Hegerich, an unpaid intern, said she wants to pursue a career in human resources because of her internship experience.
Read about these interns’ experiences, as well as those of interns making national news, a few hard-working high schoolers with upgraded summer jobs, and some advice from college career counselors about whether to choose an unpaid internship.
Explore these stories from Patch’s internship series:
About this series: As part of our jobs reporting, Patch is profiling people on internships throughout Maryland, focusing on the issue of paid and unpaid positions. What do you think about paid and unpaid internships? Let us know in the comments below.Editor's Note: This story was written by a paid intern at Patch.