College Connect: Tough Decisions – internship, or take a job?

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By Kaitlin Loukides, University of Missouri

Two weeks ago, I graduated from the University of Missouri with my degree in Broadcast Journalism in one hand, and an unpaid internship in the other.

Just yesterday, I was completely set to head out to Washington, D.C. to begin my internship with Al Jazeera English. Now, this particular news corporation had been the main factor that had ignited my interest in journalism years ago, so gaining access to an internship with Al Jazeera was a dream and a half to a dreamer much like myself.

But just the other day, everything changed.

I got a call from WTVO in Rockford, Illinois, a city just about an hour and a half outside of Chicago. The News Director had a great offer for me to be the lead weekday anchor at the station, where I would be making an ACTUAL salary.
Normally, this would be an easy decision: start making money, save up for retirement, and watch my life take off before my eyes versus working as an unpaid intern.

If I put away $100 a month, that adds up to $1,200 a year, and by the time I’m my mother’s age I would have saved up to over $30,000 NOT including interest made on that overall sum.

But this is where I was torn! Do I start my life now, or do I follow my passion of big-time reporting on an international news in D.C. during the heat of campaign season? The internship was a blessing, but so was the job offer.

I was hoping the station director would have been a jerk to make this decision easier for myself. But that was not even close to reality – he was possibly the kindest person over the phone, and offered me a deal I just could not refuse.

He is supposed to call me back either today or tomorrow to let me know if the station has the budget to fly me out to take a look at my potential new workplace. In the meantime, I’m still debating the right decision for myself, weighing the pros and con’s of each prospect.

In the spirit and irony of deciding the finances of this situation, it’s funny how life can turn on a dime.

Kaitlin Loukides is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri. She’s originally from Fountain Valley, Calif.

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