The Pros and Cons of Taking an Unpaid Internship

As you progress through college, you will begin to notice more and more of your classmates pursuing internships in cities all over the United States and even the world. While this sounds like a luxurious experience, it can often be anything but. Companies world-wide are aware that they can hire college students as unpaid interns. Instead of being paid monetarily, these students are “paid” with the knowledge they gain through their experience, and must receive college credit to make the free labor legal. Interns usually must put in more hours than other paid employees, and do work that is far less rewarding.

Unpaid Internship

While most people would question why anyone would sign up to work in this kind of environment for no pay, internships have become an essential stepping stone for anyone trying to enter a professional field after college. Not only are they expected, but oftentimes they are required. It’s not all torture, though, when pursuing this type of job. There are a ton of positive aspects of these internships as well. The connections made can be invaluable, but it depends on the effort you put forth in your work. It is easy as an intern to be a small fish in a big pond, but if you make yourself heard, you can meet and impress some of the most important people in your industry. Once you have garnered these contacts, it is vital to keep in touch with them as you approach graduation. In such a competitive job market, if a position is available and it comes down to you versus an opponent who did not intern for the company, it is likely you would be the favorable candidate.

In addition to meeting some fantastic people in your industry, internships can often be parlayed into other opportunities. If you have multiple impressive internships on your resume, an employer will be more likely to hire you over someone who has little to no experience whatsoever. Taking an unpaid internship shows you are willing to sacrifice compensation to pursue something you are truly passionate about, and that you care about excelling in your field. Also, employers will often be sympathetic to financial needs. Many will allow interns to work three or four days a week, which would allow for a second job that pays. Though you will be busy, you will also be building out your resume even further.

In the end, choosing to pursue an unpaid internship is a decision you have to make based on your wants, needs, and abilities. If not, there are other ways to prove yourself. You can get involved on campus in various organizations pertaining to your interests, and pursue leadership roles that will impress employers. Unfortunately, though, because internships have become such an integral part of college education, many employers will expect to see at least one on your resume; so, if there is a way to pursue one, it will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.

Renting an Apartment in NYC

Finding an apartment in NYC can seem like one of the most daunting experiences of your life, especially when on a budget in such an expensive city; but if you break the process down, it becomes far less stressful. The first thing you need to consider is your budget. This will help steer you in the right direction regarding realistic locations, and whether or not you will need a roommate(s). Once you have figured out your budget, begin to look into various areas in the city you are interested in to get a feeling for average pricing and availability. Depending on what you find, you will then be able to determine if you need a roommate or roommates to help split the costs of your apartment. It’s very important to have your budget, ideal locations, and roommates all finalized before beginning your search. This way, you won’t waste any time during the process.

 

New York City

Once all your preferences are set, you should first browse various websites to see what’s available. It’s important to be wary of what you see online, though, as many posts are scams. There are websites pertaining to all cities, but two of the most legitimate sites in NYC are www.citihabitats.com and www.streeteasy.com. Though these sites guarantee real listings and great service from licensed professionals, they often come with hefty broker fees. Broker fees are often 15% of one year’s rent. In addition to this, you will have to put down a deposit upon signing the lease, so it’s vital to keep these costs in mind when choosing how to pursue your apartment.

A different approach to take is to use Craigslist or sites like HotPads. These sites are more risky, in that one can never be sure who they are dealing with on the other end. However, some of the best deals are on these sites and often do not come with a broker’s fee. Craigslist has an option to look for only no fee apartments, and you can even look for sublets or roommates if you are having difficulty finding any. Sometimes going with a sublet is a favorable option, because you often won’t have to pay a broker’s fee or deposit, depending on your roommate. This is also a more non-committal option, as you won’t sign a lease. If you are looking for something temporary or short-term, subletting may be ideal.

Once you have found a bunch of places to look at, check them all out to get a feeling for what you like best. Walk around the area at night to make sure you feel safe, and get a feeling for the neighborhood at large. Other factors to consider are pets, walk-ups versus elevator buildings, and whether or not you prefer having a doorman. Once you figure out exactly what you want upon viewing these apartments, your search will narrow down quite a bit.

Once you’ve found the apartment you love, sign a lease – FAST! Apartments go off the market like rapid fire in NYC, and it can be horribly disappointing to lose a place you love; however, this is incredibly common. Once you do get to lease signing, read the fine print extremely closely, as you may be surprised by what you see. One of the biggest issues today with apartments in NYC is bed bugs. Landlords are required to tell you if there have been cases of bed bugs within the past year in the building, but they may not be as forthcoming with that information as you would like. If there have been bed bugs in the building recently, it will be in your lease, so be sure to look for that disclosure or anything else that seems out of the ordinary.

After you’ve signed your lease, celebrate and enjoy your new life in one of the greatest cities in the world!

How I made -$7 selling my iPad on Amazon

There is nothing worse than mourning the loss of your beloved Mac Book Pro. When my 5-year-old laptop finally died, I eventually decided it was time to purchase a new one. Because this can be quite an expensive endeavor, I chose to sell my iPad and contribute the money I made off of it to my new Mac Book. I stumbled upon Amazon’s trade-in service, which seemed to be the ideal route to go. I could trade my 32 GB iPad 2 with WiFi in for $440 if it was deemed in perfect condition (and it was in perfect condition: no scratches, no sign of use, all buttons operated perfectly), but if it was deemed not quite up to par, I could select to be offered a lesser amount in return. I decided to go for this option, rather than to have my iPad returned to me if it was rejected for the $440, because I needed whatever I could get to put towards my new computer. I’d most likely be offered a little less than $400 if it was determined to be in “good condition” rather than “perfect condition”, so I felt that was still worth it. On top of that, Amazon offers a great price for Mac Books –$100 less than the Apple store — so it seemed like a no-brainer.

All I had to do was submit my iPad to Amazon and fill in a few blanks to describe the condition it was in. Amazon then sent me a shipping label, allowing for free shipping minus the cost of the box I had to buy to send it in. I went to UPS, bought a $7 box, and sent my iPad on its way.

I waited in anticipation for about five days before hearing anything from them. When it arrived at headquarters a few days after sending it, Amazon said the order was “processing” for three more days after that. Finally, my impatience got the best of me and I decided to contact them myself. I spoke to someone via their chat system, and he assured me I’d be informed of my iPad payment by the end of the week. Keeping in mind this was on a Monday that seemed like a long time to wait. But I digress. Finally, later that day, I got an e-mail from Amazon letting me know my order had been processed, and that it had been deemed “unacceptable”. It said its value was “$0.00” and its status was “returned”. On top of my outrage at not being paid a SINGLE dollar for my iPad which was in perfect condition, Amazon went against the option I had checked off to be offered a lesser amount for the gadget, instead of it being returned to me. I was furious. I went back onto Amazon’s chat service, and at first the man I spoke to had nothing of substance to tell me. All he could say was my item had not been accepted, and that was that. His lack of knowledge only added fuel to the fire, so I asked to speak with his supervisor. After a few minutes, another representative joined my chat. I explained my situation to him, and waited a while for his response. Finally, he said, “I am really sorry for this. Your chat has been transferred incorrectly to MP3 digital team. Please hold on while I connect you with our retail team.”

Absolutely dumbfounded, I awaited the FOURTH Amazon representative I would speak to that day. I had never seen such incompetence from such a reputable company in my entire life. I gave the new person I was chatting with my information once again, and she actually had some information to offer me. Apparently, Amazon sends the trade-ins to random merchants, and if that merchant rejects the item, that’s the end of that. Amazon has no record of which merchant processed my item, and thus have no specific reason to give me as to why my iPad was rejected. The woman I was speaking to suggested once I receive the item that was being returned to me, I should send it in again and hope for the best. There was no way I was going to go through this experience again. When I asked her when I’d receive my iPad, she said one to two weeks. Trying my best not to let my frustration get the best of me, I finally let it go and thanked her for her help.

Needless to say, Amazon’s trade-in service is an absolute waste of time and money. Not only did I not make the $440 I expected, but I actually lost seven dollars during the process. iPad sellers: if you want to lose money on your iPad and deal with the most atrocious customer service in the history of e-commerce, absolutely go for it and use Amazon’s trade-in service! My sarcasm aside, I will be 100% skeptical going forward when using Amazon for anything it offers at all.

Should I Buy Pet Insurance?

The question of pet-insurance and whether it is necessary might seem like a moot one if you have never head to take care of a pet. However, if you do love pets, and have ever had to actually take care of one, you will know something about the cost of treating them when they do fall sick or are injured: it’s high.

Pet Insurance

It can be as high as human treatment and even higher in some cases, because, let’s face it, not that much research has gone into looking after pet health (not as much as has gone into human health for example) and therefore good pet health care is hard to come by, and the harder it is to come by, the more expensive it will tend to be. Simple things like stitches on a dog’s paw or even managing a persistent worm problem can be quite costly.

Added to this is the fact that veterinary medicine is employing increasingly expensive methods of treatment, from x-rays to monitoring equipment for organ performance and things of that nature.

It is with this in mind that pet insurance starts to sound like a good idea. Pet insurance differs from human health insurance in one important aspect: it is rather more similar to property insurance, in particular, motor vehicle insurance.

Pet insurance is relatively new in the United States, with the first one being issued in the United States and instigated by the risk incurred when using animals for important roles on Hollywood. Sweden and Britain respectively, lead the world in terms of percentages of pets that have pet health insurance.

Policies can differ in several aspects. You can have lifetime and non-life time variations, with lifetime variations covering a condition that the pet has for it’s lifetime, literally, while non-lifetime insurance cannot be renewed when the policy is being renewed annually.

Pet insurance can also include third-party liability insurance, so that if for example a pet is a direct cause of a car accident or injury to an individual, the owner of the pet is insured from covering costs incurred; these would be covered by the insurer.

As mentioned earlier, these aspects of pet insurance as well as others vary from country to country and also vary according to the insurance company providing the cover. Some of these variations include dental care, preventive cover like vaccination, prescription drugs, tail clipping (in the case of certain dogs and cats) and neutering.

In the long run, of course, a carefully negotiated policy will save you money. Pet behavior is often unpredictable but knowing that you have a fall back plan can help you save on those sudden costs as well as give you that much-searched for commodity when dealing with a pet: peace of mind.