College Connect: Yes, You Really Can Afford to Take That Internship

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Covey Eonyak Son

Around this time last year, I finally got a call I spent months hoping to get.

The voice on the other end offered me an internship at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It was a happy ending to an annual ritual that thousands of college students take part in each year. We spend hours writing and refining cover letters and résumés with the hope that we’ll be chosen. So naturally, the call left me feeling high with joy.

It didn’t take long for reality to hit me. Much like the stereotypical college student, I don’t have much saved up and I’ve already got a hefty amount of student loans. There were so many things to consider. Can I afford this? How will I get to work everyday without a car? And the most difficult question of them all: Where will I even stay?

Don’t panic if you’re a new intern. There are plenty of affordable housing options, even in major cities, as long as you’re patient enough and know where to look.

The best place to start looking is wherever you can find other college students. So I joined a Facebook group for student housing at the University of Minnesota, which is just minutes away from downtown Minneapolis. I found plenty of students looking to sublet their apartments while they left town for the summer.

The tough part was finding a cheap place that was also close to work, since I didn’t have a car. The closer I got to the city, the more expensive it was to rent. And whenever I found a good deal pretty close to downtown, someone else would swoop in and offer to pay more.

I told myself I wouldn’t spend more than $500 a month on rent, because I wanted to be able to save some money. So I kept looking. I waited. Surely something better will come along, right?

And it finally did late April, just weeks from the start of my internship. One seller was getting very desperate to sublease her place before she left for the summer. It was one of those posh “luxury student apartments” that normally cost $850 a month. It was very close to work and public transit, which were perfect for me.

When I told her that I could only afford $500 a month, she said she would pay for the rest of the rent. In the end, the arrangement would save us both a lot of money.

It was a gamble to wait so long, but I don’t regret taking the risk. Had I gone with the first option I found, I would not have saved so much money, and I’d have less money for my next move.

Son is a political science major at the University of Missouri.

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