Internships, co-ops, and money

Mackenzie Smith, Columnist

Way to go! You’re the (wo)man! It’s great that you got that internship/co-op/resume magic that is going to help you do all that stuff you are going to talk about in future job interviews.

There is a big push to get some kind of experience before you graduate because it makes you that much more competitive when you leave SDSU with your degree in hand.

There are some pretty compelling long-term money reasons to say yes without thinking, but let’s talk about the short term realities you need to be aware of.

Current Job

Swinging an internship, coursework and a part time job is a bit much, so many students choose to quit their jobs to do the internship. That is all swell, until your internship ends and you need to look for a new job. Given that you were probably a low-level barista or something means it likely shouldn’t be too hard.

However, your new job might not offer the free meal with your shift or might pay less if you had raises for staying at your old job for a while. Just in case it takes a while, you should budget for not having a job right after, just to cover your bases.

Depending on your field you might also be without income if its an unpaid internship. Does this mean you will need to take out extra loans to make it through the semester, or can you cut back and make do?

Lifestyle Changes

That brings us right into lifestyle changes. If you are changing your income, chances are you are changing how you spend it. Change isn’t always bad, but you should be mindful about the difference to keep you on track with your finance goals.

Luckily for some of you, co-ops and internships can pay much better than what you were making as a retail grunt, and suddenly you have more money than you are used to. This does not mean that you should now spend that difference just because you can. 

If you were getting by on one Starbucks coffee a week, there is no need to spring for one every day now. It will make transitioning back to a normal job that much harder, and if you already know you can do well with less, you can add those extra dollars into savings, a spring break trip, or investing in a nicer winter coat that lasts longer than the ratty trend piece you rebuy every year. 


Some scholarships require you to get certain grades, maintain certain credit loads or stay in a certain extracurricular. 

For co-ops that you do full time in the place of a semester of classes, taking a low-level gen ed course online can help you keep the scholarship you might overlook and lose if you didn’t check everything thoroughly. 

Congratulations again, I’m proud of you. Remember that none of this is meant to discourage or take away from your super awesome chance to do what you sought the degree to do. Rather it just serves as a reminder to keep as many obstacles out of your way as you keep your eye on the prize. 

If you have questions on anything finance related, the free website is a great resource geared just towards college students like you!

For additional financial information, go to