The final 25 percent

Photo by William Couch [CC-BY-2.0], via

Teneil Lawrence/Contributing Writer

Despite the attention given to your grades,  I have witnessed first-hand that the ultimate criterion for being hired in the “real world” is experience; employers won’t be looking at your Panther Degree Audit.

Photo by William Couch [CC-BY-2.0], via

Internships provide students with this experience and if the University intends to prepare its students adequately for the real world, they could be doing more to help their students get this critical asset before they graduate.

Michael Vasquez referred to internships as the game-changer on March 31 in the Miami Herald.

Our own interim career services director touted their importance in the article by declaring that internships are one of the four key factors that employers use in selecting a new hire.

Why then are internships not a main component of our curriculum here at the University?

I was not able to take any classes with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication without sitting through that mind-numbing orientation, but I could graduate with honors without ever setting foot in a professional setting whereby I would be lacking 25 percent of what I needed to secure a job.

This indicates a serious design flaw.

The University does offer some help to students in acquiring internships; however, the process may be cumbersome and is overly bureaucratic.

Constanza Gallardo, a junior in the undergraduate journalism program, took the initiative to seek the college’s help in securing an internship because she recognized that it could be beneficial to her future career.

She was told she did not have the credits needed for placement in an internship for college credit. Unimpeded, she sought to obtain an internship, unpaid, without the promise of college credit. When a potential employer requested a letter from the college, she was left waiting.

Despite the difficulties, the current system does have the potential for successful outcomes. Unfortunately, an important part of the student population is still being ignored: the working student.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 40 percent of full-time and 73 percent of part-time students are employed.

I am a member of this demographic, so I know that it is not likely that a student who has to work to supplement grants and student loans will sacrifice a paid job for an unpaid internship.

This presents another hindrance in acquiring that additional 25 percent of preparation we need for our careers.

Some universities have already addressed this problem by creating stipends for students who take unpaid internships. Our University should be encouraged to follow suit in order to cater to the entire student body.

As students, we are all here with the goal of graduating to be rewarded one day for the late nights and meals of gourmet ramen with professional success in our chosen fields.

Sadly, FIU is prepared to shove us out the doors only 75 percent ready and less likely to receive those coveted job offers. In this bleak economic climate, the University should be doing more to offer us that final 25 percent.


1. “College Internships: The Ultimate Social Network,” via Miami Herald

2. “The Condition of Education 2012,” via National Center for Education Statistics

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