With the end of the school year comes the dawning horror of summer employment. The Argus took a look at several aspects of the search process, and what students are doing now in their hunt for summer gigs.

Going Profesh

Director of the Career Center Sharon Castonguay explained that the Career Center, located at 41 Wyllys Ave., is essential to helping students find internships and jobs.

“A student needs to run an effective, professional search, even for an internship,” Castonguay wrote in an email to The Argus. “To support the internship search process, we have an excellent staff of counselors and Peer Career Advisors who are dedicated to helping a student through the whole process: resume, cover letter, networking for additional leads, interview prep, and mock interviews.”

Staffed by a student worker who adds internships to the database and several full-time staff members, the Career Center provides resources available to assist students in all aspects of the job search. It also hosts the Cardinal Internship database, a collection of jobs designed specifically for Wesleyan students.

“When applying for a Cardinal Internship, Wes students have a competitive ‘edge’ in the applicant pool, or at least receive special consideration by the employers, who know the value of a Wes student’s work,” wrote Associate Director for Jobs and Internships at the Career Center James Kubat, in an email to The Argus. “Every effort is made to provide a diverse variety of paid internship opportunities, across professions, industries, and geographic location.”

Boon or Burden?

Last summer, Gabe Gordon ’15 found an internship and presented it to the Career Center in order to obtain funding. The money from the Summer Experience Grant he received allowed him to take the unpaid internship without suffering the financial consequences. But the center has also faced its fair share of student critics, many of whom have claimed that it does not provide adequate support.

Kate Gibbel ’15 acknowledged that the center offers some promising internship opportunities, but suggests using personal connections to find out about them.

“It’s impossible to find internships without talking to people you know,” Gibbel said. “The Career Center website and [the] center just [aren’t] that helpful.”

As May inches closer, students appear more and more tense about summer opportunities. The Career Center maintains that it is available and ready to help.

“Wesleyan’s Career Center is unusual in its [central] location on campus and multimillion dollar facility, both testaments to its importance in the lives of students,” Castonguay wrote.

All Work, No Pay

Yet with all of the amenities offered by the center and available online, the internship scramble is a complex issue. Despite the advantage of gaining experience in a given field, working all summer for little to no pay is a daunting prospect.

Students fear that internships do not often lead to full-time work, and students who work without pay during their summer months can be exploited with the assumption that permanent employment will follow. The New York Times addressed this concern in a Feb. 25 article titled “Among College Students, the Frenzied Competition to Work for No Pay.”

The Career Center is working to address this concern with a new program.

“With the Wesleyan Graduate Outcomes (WesGO) platform we adopted last year, there is a place for students to indicate if their post-Wesleyan job was with the same employer as an internship,” Castonguay wrote. “We don’t have a good enough response rate from the Class of 2014 to make meaningful conclusions on this score, but we hope to in the future.”

For those who don’t feel the need for an appointment with the Career Center, its online resources can still be useful. Henry Kinder ’17, for example, used the Wesleyan Student Internship Review, available on every student’s ePortfolio, to find his upcoming summer internship.

“I searched for the subject I’m interested in and found one that had gotten a good review,” Kinder said. “I didn’t talk to the Career Center about my resume or cover letter or anything, though. I just used this database.”

Opting Out 

And then there are the students who are blissfully avoiding the internship hunt all together. Will Speiser ’17 was offered an internship in New York City but decided to take biology classes at the University this summer. Having enjoyed his experience farming over winter break, Speiser got a job at Long Lane Farm, a paid position that will work with his class schedule for the summer. Housing is not included with the position, but Speiser is looking into renting an apartment or perhaps boarding at Beta House.

Peter Sohmer ’16 has similarly not looked into any internships for this summer. Last year, Sohmer worked for a University alumnus who played on Nietzsch Factor, the men’s ultimate frisbee team, and now works for a company that translates newspapers into age-appropriate readings for elementary students. The job was in an interesting field, but Sohmer’s work was not his passion.

“It was a really cool company, but I wasn’t doing anything cool,” Sohmer said.

As a history and philosophy double major, he is pretty sure that internships exist in this field, but he has not tried to find any.

“I just didn’t look for any,” Sohmer said. “If one just fell into my lap, it would be cool. There are probably some out there.”

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