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Should Some Students Be Allowed Free Internships Instead of College?


The U.S. Department of Labor frowns upon businesses who put students to work without paying them. Internships have to be educational. But many people say they would have been better off apprenticing with an expert instead of going to college. That’s true for me, what about you?For example, one time I was fascinated by glass blowing — before it was hip in the Northwest. It’s totally hands on; you’ve just got to get in there and practice. And you’ve got to have an artist’s mind, not anybody can do it. Why would I spend tens of thousands of dollars going to art school when really all you need is to be totally hands on?

For someone like me, the way my mind works (I actually think it’s a curse), when someone tells me about a wedding venue, I can visually see it and know what needs to be done to the park to make it beautiful for a wedding. When I try to explain it, people don’t get it. So for me, school was a waste of time. It all depends on how your brain works.

A commercial artist I know recently said, “Tell your parents instead of going to college where they’ll be paying $100,000 for four years, to just let you live at home and eat their food for two years and you’ll work for free at a respectable firm. At the end of two years you’ll have just as good a shot at getting a job and you’ll be free of student debt.”

On the other hand, college broadens your horizons and a degree is proof of your ability to meet deadlines. Apprenticeships can be abused and the Department of Labor is afraid companies will force people to work for free instead of hiring them (à la the internship in “Pursuit of Happyness”).


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