Internship Envy

by Alex Kaufman

Senior and screen acting major Marie Oldenbourg pulled up the Warner Brothers page on her Internet browser. After inputting her login information, she stared at the page that said, “rejected” under “internship application.”

Oldenbourg is one of many on Chapman’s campus feeling the pressure to get an internship, but this pressure isn’t from her parents – it’s from her peers.

“The entertainment industry is so cut throat, it can be difficult to get your foot in the door,” said Oldenbourg.

Chapman prides itself on giving each student a “personalized education,” and the internship program on campus is now a great part of that emphasis. Many majors offered on campus require students to receive at least three credits on their course evaluation from an outside internship.

This sentiment can be felt most in majors within the entertainment industry. The idea of “internship envy” is something that many students at Chapman cannot shake.

“Our degree means nothing without internships or some kind of connection, at least that’s what [our professors] tell us,” said senior television broadcast major Tory Todd.  

Todd is currently interning for a late night television program in Los Angeles, which is a full load with her second semester senior schedule and coursework.  

“Chapman inadvertently puts pressure on students to get internships, and through seeing your peers landing internships with big-name companies, you feel less accomplished,” said Todd. This hints at the idea of competition among students, which will only be further reinforced in life post-grad.

Megan Baxter, a recent Chapman grad and current casting associate at “Undercover Boss” on CBS, saw a tremendous value in the internships she had during her time as an undergrad. She had a total of seven internships during her time at Chapman, including being a digital intern for The Oprah Winfrey Network in LA, and a production intern for “The Doctors” on CBS.

“These internships drastically helped when applying to post-grad jobs because I had a wide range of experience. Though I was just entering the working world, I was able to compete with others who have been working because I had contacts, connections and knowledge in a range of fields,” said Baxter.

With all of the experience she gained, the drive to go out and obtain these positions was fostered early on in her Chapman career.

“If I felt any pressure about pursuing internships, it was pressure I put on myself. I would see upperclassman in my field getting internships, so I felt like it’s what I also needed to do in order to be successful,” said Baxter.

If you’re struggling to find an internship, resources at Chapman are readily available for students at the Career Development Center. Sandra Robbie, Chapman’s Career Relations assistant works directly with the internship program and the students involved.

“Interning isn’t about getting in on the race, but about starting your own journey at your own pace,” said Robbie in response to students feeling peer pressure about interning. Robbie agreed that in the Orange County and Los Angeles, especially in fields pertaining to entertainment, it is inherent that students will feel jealousy among peers.

“Chapman is your network, and it is each student’s responsibility to help build that,” said Robbie.

While an internship may not be in the bag for Oldenbourg, her future is looking bright with many of the student films she’s taken part in, and the network of alumni and students she has connected and worked with on campus.

“Interning isn’t everything, there are so many more ways to explore fields you are interested in, and that’s what really counts,” said Oldenbourg.

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