As designers one think that we have to be aware of is how much energy we put into a project and are we getting paid the right amount of money for the amount of energy we put into a project. Yet as students still it is hard to know how much your energy and time is worth. One thing that I know several people have struggled with, as have I as a graphic designer still in school, is the UNPAID INTERNSHIP. I am one of those lucky people who have an unpaid internship. At first when I got the unpaid internship I was weary and hesitant, because working for free doesn't pay the oh so many bills that like to come my way. Yet upon discussing what I would be doing and after working there for a couple of weeks, I developed a change of mind when it came to my unpaid internship. Though not all unpaid internships are going to be great there are some that are completely worth your energy.
I came across an article that has 4 really good tips when it comes to dealing with an unpaid internship. An unpaid internship is only worth your energy if you are getting real training, like you would be in a class room setting or a part time job. Also make sure upfront before you start you unpaid internship that you have discuss what your role will be and that you will get real hands on experience. Also make sure that the internship isn't abusing you, for example making you work on a project that they should have hired somebody full time for. Take control of you unpaid internship and make sure that it is something that is beneficial to you and that you have work that you can show and that overall improves your skills and the quality of your portfolio! Because you are not getting paid for time and energy you need to make sure it is worthwhile to you. Also it can be extremely fun!
One of the possible ups about an unpaid internship is that instead of doing B.S. work like answering phones and getting coffee, is that because you are unpaid you may get assigned to some big projects to help out with. For me to have an unpaid internship that I can gain a lot of knowledge and experience from while still in school, outweighs doing B.S. work and getting a measly pay. So don't always be so hesitant take an unpaid internship. As long as you do research and have a clear direction of what you will be working on while completing and unpaid internship it may sometimes be your better option.