Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Big Oops

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - So a couple of days ago I just found out something that throws a sizable dent into my plans to graduate after this summer's Wall Street Journal internship. Turns out, I can't do it for credit as I thought I would.

I was planning to make this WSJ thing my 6-credit internship to complete my journalism major here at Rutgers. But---stupid me---I only decided to ask the internship coordinator about the possibility of doing it for credit a couple of days ago when I should have asked, like, say, in December, when I decided to take the internship in the first place? <> And here I am telling everyone I'm going to be graduating after this summer internship is over.

Chalk up another highlight in the Kenji Fujishima Wall of Shame---or, to put it more optimistically, Wall of Stupid Mistakes to Learn From In the Future.

Thus, it looks like I'm going to be a student here for about a semester longer than I had anticipated. Those 6 credits are all I really need, though. I'm thinking about whether I'd want another internship for the fall, or simply to take two more classes to finish it up. The journalism department here at Rutgers doesn't absolutely require a credit internship; the department strongly recommends it, but it isn't technically required. Frankly, though, I'd rather try to get more real-world experience through an internship, paid or unpaid, than sit through more dull lectures and stuff. But then I'd have to try to find that fall internship in the first place. It's just like a finding a job. I guess that's a good thing.

I'm trying not to get too hysterical over this as I probably would have if I were the Kenji of, say, two years ago, when this kind of temporary setback might have depressed me for days. In the past, I might have dwelt on things that I should have done or didn't do. This time, I try to say to myself: Hey, I made a dumb mistake. No use dwelling on it now, because what's done is done. Move on.

One thing, though: obviously this is my fault, and I take full responsibility for it. But why didn't anyone tell me that usually paid internships usually mean internships that aren't for credit? When I told people that I was hoping to get credit out of this, no one said to me, Are you sure you can do that? Because, from my experience, most paid internships don't allow you to get college credit out of it. Now I hear this is the trend? The obvious response to that is, I should have done my research. But still...

I haven't told my parents yet, by the way.


Anonymous said...

Not a big deal at all. The Wall Street Journal Internship is a good thing, credit or not. Get another internship for the Fall; you need it. You had enough courses. It doesnt matter when you graduate. Tell your parents but don't put it in the context of "I made a mistake." Just tell them the positives: remind them of the WSJ internship and now you have the "opportunity" for another internship. Do not mention the credit or no credit business. That means nothing in the long run and exactly when you graduate means nothing either in the big picture. (Always think: "big picture") What are your parents going to do anyway?

odienator said...

One thing, though: obviously this is my fault, and I take full responsibility for it. But why didn't anyone tell me that usually paid internships usually mean internships that aren't for credit?

To channel my mother here a second: "Why didn't anybody tell you?! Why didn't you look?!" I got credit for my paid internship (and a job out of it), so I certainly wouldn't have known.

The WSJ thing sounds like a once in a lifetime deal, so even if you did know, I'm sure you would have taken it and gotten another internship or some classes in the fall to finish out. It doesn't matter what time of year you graduate unless you had a job lined up for September that was contingent upon your degree being handed to you in May.

As for your parents, tell them you took this internship to further your job chances after graduation, and as a result, you have to take another internship or class to finish. It was a tough choice, but in the long run, it will pay off. If that doesn't work, tell them that you'll be interning in the accounting department!