To intern or not to intern?

Megan Armstrong

Everyone is familiar with the traditional signs of spring at Villanova: bright hyacinths blooming outside the church, colorful blankets dotting the landscape of Sheehan Beach, and crowds of students buzzing with excitement around the Oreo. Students welcome all these signals of warm weather, but there is one hallmark of the season that countless students dread – the inescapable query, “So, what are you doing this summer?” It can catch you by surprise while passing those beautiful blooms outside the Church, or come out of left field from a friend two blankets over on Sheehan Beach, but most likely, this question escapes from the mouth of a friend while casually chatting at the Oreo. “So, what are you doing this summer?” Villanova students seem split on the issue of how to spend their three months of summer freedom. Some choose to take a summer internship, applying what they have learned in class to a professional environment, while others opt to put off the real word, just a few months longer, and head down the Jersey shore (a favorite of local Villanovans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) or any nearby beach. Cecilia Baldino, 21, a junior human services major, chooses the latter. “I’m a beach bum,” she says. “I’m at the beach every day. I go running every morning on the boardwalk, or bike riding. I’m active, but then I relax for a couple hours on the beach, maybe read, and then work. It’s the same cycle every day.”Baldino has never considered searching for an internship in her three years at Villanova, because every summer she returns to work at Piro’s, an Italian Restaurant in North Wildwood, N.J., where she has worked for the past five years.Baldino has formed close friendships with her fellow servers at Piro’s, where employees work eight-hour shifts six days per week. Baldino works hard, but for her it is rewarding because she makes sufficient money working full-time in the summer and does not have to hold a job during the school year. Baldino will do an internship for her human services major, but not during the summer. “For my major I’ll have an internship during the spring semester next year,” she says, adding that her summer job is just as beneficial for her major as the internship. “I am put in a lot of tough situations with certain customers, dealing with on-the-spot issues.” While Baldino spends her days beach-bumming by day and waitressing by night at the Jersey shore, many Villanova students spend their summers working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as interns, and warm sunshine, cool breezes, and coconut aromas of tanning oils are figments of their imaginations in their tired dreams at nighttime. Mairaed McCarthy, 21, a finance major, will intern this summer at Merrill Lynch in the investment banking division. McCarthy, a native of Freehold, N.J., a town that is a speedy 20 minute drive to the beach, does not deny the allures of a carefree summer, but she knows it is not for her. “I think if I was spending the summer beach-bumming, I’d probably be very anxious and nervous, thinking, ‘Am I doing the right thing or am I really just wasting my time?'” she says. “But I think it has a lot to do with your major. When you’re in C&F there is a lot of pressure; you’re competing for jobs in the end, so to have that internship experience is really critical.” McCarthy knows that all internship experiences are not created equal; some interns’ tasks can be tedious and tiring, but there is always some merit to be found in the experience. “The job I had last summer was a great experience, but I was not sure if I wanted to do that full time,” she says. “I learned I really liked Merrill Lynch as a company and I could see myself working there, and I think that was the biggest benefit – that I found a company that I liked,” she says. For students willing to forfeit their tans for a career-building experience, it’s not too late. Just last week, eight new internships were posted on the Career Services Experience network. The network allows students to post their résumés online for potential employers. These positions range from MIS and accounting internships with Magic Media, the fourth largest outdoor advertising company in the United States, to research assistant positions in the engineering department right here at Villanova. All these companies are still accepting applications, and many businesses continue to do so until the end of May.So, whether you plan to spend your summer under the bright sun of the beach or harsh fluorescent lights of an accounting firm, there is something of value to choose. And remember, the crisp fall days are just around the corner.So, what are you doing this summer?Still looking for that summer job or internship? Explore these online recruiting web sites:····