Why an Unpaid Internship Matters

Is that internship really that important if it’s unpaid?

Joseph Hartmann at the Muny

Photo by alumna Bryanna Hampton


As a college student in the age of a rough economy it can be hard to decide if you should take time off from other work to pursue an internship—which can be unpaid.

Internships can take up a lot of time. To benefit the most, you try to be at the internship as long as possible. But, there comes a time where free work turns into a bad thing.

Even if the pay isn’t coming in the form of a paycheck, an internship can be an investment.

In my case, it pushed me to learn the benefits of being in the scenario of doing the work I love (for free) and taking another job that is less ideal in order to provide income for the internship to be a reality.

Internships are a way to provide a bridge between the responsibility of a career job, but with the flexibility of a part-time job with little to no pay.

It helps you get your foot in the door and sometimes can be the thing that leads to your first job.

I had the rare chance to experience being in the right place at the right time. While working on a project for school, I stumbled onto an organization that happened to be looking for a video intern.

Even though it was unpaid, they provided a lot of things that other internships couldn’t, such as equipment on-site, flexible hours and versatility with software I used.

As I put in a lot of hard work, I started gaining more responsibilities at the internship and instead of just being an intern I became a part of the company.

As a result of my work and experience, the organization asked me to be one of their video editors—beyond my work as an intern.

While the internship provided me with a future job, it also taught me about being passionate and doing what it takes to do what I love.

Since it wasn’t a paying gig, I had no choice but to find another job. It was tough and I couldn’t find any in my field, so I had to go with my last resort: Apply for a minimum-wage job.

That summer, I put in a lot of work for that minimum-wage job in order to provide something for me to keep the unpaid internship and also have something to pay the bills.

When we get down to our lowest desperation, we will take what we can in order to keep the things we desire.

Today, since I have had that internship, I am able to continue to do the things I love and even get paid for it. So even if it was unpaid for awhile, it was worth more than the money; it gave me experience and a chance to prove myself in a different setting.

Tags: , , ,

Joseph Hartmann

Joseph Hartmann is a senior broadcast media major. He is also the producer of Timeline Broadcast and a studio tech for the Communications Department studio. Outside of Missouri Baptist University, he is a multi-media specialist for The Muny and a videographer and producer for the Prepcasts Broadcasting Network.


About MBU Timeline


Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student newsmagazine of Missouri Baptist University, in St. Louis:
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
*The WordPress website has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
*We have readers in every state and more than 90 countries around the world. We have several readers in South America, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
*We do not accept advertising as we are a not-for-profit online newsmagazine.
*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Reach out to us on Twitter at: @mbutimeline.