For our parents’ generation, college was often the end-all to getting a job. For us, we know that in order to get a job in 2018, you don’t just need a college degree – you need a couple internships under your belt as well. For that reason, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to live in a city with a bustling job market. However, the Foghorn feels that USF could be doing more to ensure students get the most out of the internship hub that a big city like San Francisco has. And we’re talking more than just sending out mass newsletters.
While we feel that USF is lackluster in their internship placements, it does an admirable job at helping students find on-campus employment. Many of us were able to get on-campus jobs and research assistant positions, which can teach us valuable skills in a convenient location.
However, many staff members agree that there are key flaws in USF’s career services – one of them being how different your experience with internships is by major and how the USF system seems to be geared towards business and STEM majors. Some members of the Foghorn went to career fairs and felt that the target audience was really business students and people who wanted to work in the Financial District. Career services typically brings in lots of big companies, especially for finance and tech, as well as a few for education and health care. It’s true that San Francisco has more tech and business opportunities than most cities, but those opportunities do not make up the entire job market by any means. If someone comes in as a person who is looking for smaller and more local organizations, they will find that the career fairs are lacking. There may be many opportunities, but if you’re not pursuing one of the more conventional career paths, the number of opportunities get smaller and smaller. It is important that the Career Service Center has the ability to help students of every major obtain an internship – not just the majors that are “easy” to find placements for.
In addition to bringing a wider variety of employers to career fairs, Career Services can, and should, work to reserve internship spots exclusively for USF students. This idea is not unprecedented by any means. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle reserves an internship spot for Stanford University students. Career Services can work with other departments to make this happen. Within the politics department, internships in City Hall could be set aside for USF students. We don’t think this is outlandish to ask – USF students spend the entire school year in the city that City Hall governs. And if USF doesn’t at least try this, should we just wait until San Francisco State University does?
The problem is not in the amount of internships available to students – on the contrary, there are a seemingly unlimited number of internships posted. We do, however, find that many of the opportunities listed on the job bulletins seem to just involve menial tasks that won’t actually help us advance in our respective fields. The reason to get internships is to prepare yourself for a “real” job after college – if an internship doesn’t offer that, then the applicant is not getting as much out of the experience as they should.
It is important to understand that, although the Foghorn staff is critical about the USF career process, we are not asking for internships to be handed to us. We all recognize that finding internships is work and should thusly require work. However, the Foghorn staff believes that USF could do more to help its students by taking advantage of its position in the wider San Francisco community.