Fordham Students on the Stigma Behind Summer Internships


University students often feel a pressure to look for internships and job opportunities in the summer season. (Courtesy of Instagram)

When students hear the words “summer internship,” their reaction would likely be a little frightened and somewhat annoyed. 

For college students who are rising sophomores, juniors or seniors, the summer internship process is one that is very long and competitive. The purpose of these internships is to add experience to their resumes for future job applications and prepare students for a full-time position. 

Fordham’s Career Services center is open for student guidance all year round, but is increasingly busy during the spring semester as students are preparing and applying for internships.

Emily Lewis, the assistant director of student engagement for Career Services at Fordham, says the resources offered by Career Services are utilized more in the spring semester than the fall.

“Throughout the month of April, the Career Center sees an upswing in students requesting counseling appointments,” Lewis sad. “With the summer internship application cycle well underway, students are seeking to secure offers prior to the semester’s end.”

Rebecca Ona, GSB ’23, landed a summer internship position with Barclays in New York City as an intern for their investment banking division. Ona was offered this position through a diversity program that she participated in her sophomore year. 

“I networked with various Fordham alumni working in banking and applied to various diversity programs,” Ona said. “Fortunately, I was able to do a first round for the Barclays program with a Fordham alum and then proceeded to participate in the super day two weeks after the program.” 

Ona also visited Career Services for guidance during her interview process with Barclays. 

“Once I went through the phone screening/first round for the program with a Fordham alumni who worked at Barclays, she expressed interest in me to career services who contacted me about it,” Ona said. “From there they helped prep me for the superday and connected me with students who were working at the company full-time after graduation.”

Katherine Johnston, FCRH ’24, is a chemistry major who is on the hunt for a summer internship after she did not receive the FCRH research grant she applied for in order to work in a chemistry lab on campus. 

Although she does not have a current position, Johnston used her networking skills to inquire about more information on the grant, which gave her experience to network for other opportunities in the future.

“I first heard about working in a chemistry lab on campus this summer at a seminar the chemistry department at Fordham held in the fall,” Johnston said. “Then in the spring I reached out to the professor whose lab I was most interested in, asking if I would be able to work with her this summer, and she agreed to work with me to apply for the grant.”

For students who find themselves in the interview search, Lewis advises that they 

ensure their materials like resume and cover letter are in tip-top shape and best highlight relevant skills, and take an active role in the application process.

“​​While there’s no magic number of internships to apply to and expectations vary by industry, you must cast a wide net to simply increase your odds of hearing back,” Lewis said. “If a position is a good fit with your interests and values and you meet the basic requirements, go ahead and apply!”

In addition to Career Services, students take advantage of different job boards and social media platforms to search for open opportunities. 

“I am using websites like Handshake, LinkedIn, Indeed and just Google searches to try to find a new chemistry internship,” Johnston said. “There are constantly new internships and jobs being posted, which is beneficial for someone who is on the lookout.”

During this process, students are likely competing with their peers who share the same major as them. Ona shares that it has been hard for her not to compare herself or her progress to others. 

“Although I was always extremely happy when my friends would get internships, it definitely made me feel like I was doing something wrong or not doing enough, which was not a great mindset to have,” Ona said. “The pressure is unavoidable and definitely toxic, but again everyone is on their path which should be a constant reminder throughout this process.”

Lewis recommends students take their tim and go at a pace that best suits their work ethic when applying for internships.

“The process can be overwhelming, so if you’re feeling burned out or frustrated from not hearing back or hearing “no,” you’re not alone. Break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.”

The stress resulting from the internship process does not go unnoticed. However, Ona believes that nothing is set in stone, and everything happens for a reason.

“Do not feel too pressured to have everything figured out right away. There is no one right path,” said Ona.