Internships are the windows to our futures. It’s how we gain work experience in the field we desire to work in before we actually start applying for positions. Sometimes internships allow us to see where we do and don’t belong. For the most part internships are not paid, but if you get lucky you can get paid travel, free lunch and some may give you a stipend.

When I landed my first internship in college for SHAPE Magazine, I thought it was going to be like The Devil Wears Prada. I worked in the beauty department where I was able to play in beauty products all day. I got packages on a daily basis from PR firms and it was like Christmas everyday opening boxes of nail polishes, make up, hair products, body products, and accessories. I was even able to coordinate the 2012 Shape beauty awards, but there was no writing component to my internship and that was ultimately what I wanted to do.

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Upon graduating from college, I landed a few freelance positions at start ups and worked as a contributing writer, but nothing solid so I fell back into a career in education for a stable income. Now in my mid-20’s I am working extra hard to get back into the media field starting with the Wanderlust Musings Network and freelancing for Madame Noire as a lifestyle writer and personal essayist, but as I submit my applications and continue my job search all that seems to be popping up are internships. Some paid, some unpaid which brings me to the dilemma, to be or not to be an intern.

On the upside, it would make for great work experience since I’ll be able to commit time and effort and they could possibly segway into a full time position within the companies, but on the downside, I am 25, I have an apartment that I am responsible for the upkeep like rent, utilities, and other household expenses such as groceries. Long story short, I have BILLS. Like real life grown up BILLS!

If you ever find yourself in this position, think about everything you have to lose and everything you have to gain. If you’re schedule and responsibilities can’t handle an internship, consider being a remote freelancer where you can work from home, or a contributing writer for a media site. To make your search easier here are some resources:

Ed2010 http://www.ed2010.com

MediaBistro http://www.mediabistro.com

JournalismJobs http://www.journalismjobs.com

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