Do you know that blank feeling you get when first asked, "Why do you want this internship?" Chances are if you are a college student, you do or will know that feeling soon.
There are two feelings you get when you hear this question. There is either a passionate response detailing the exact reasons why you want the internship, or your mind goes blank as you try to quickly decide if you should tell the truth or tell them what they want to hear.
For the people who know why they want the internship, this article is not for you. But for the people who have experienced the second, "Oh shit, why do I really want this internship?" feeling, this is for you.
And for many of us we've face this "why" question before but only for paying jobs. And the answer is money. I want the pay, I have no passion for fast food or nannying or guarding lives or anything; I want the money.
But then, there comes the good 'ole unpaid internship. Listen, the last thing I want to do is work for free. But there is this god awful thing called "experience;" you need it. So instead of trading those hours of your life for money, you're trading them for experience. This experience will help you get a job later in life, help you fulfill college requirements and maybe give you a taste of what your desired career is. But it is still hard to give up the sweet, sweet money you are used to trading your precious hours of life for.
So after facing all of these conflicting thoughts, how are you then supposed to formulate a decent response to the interviewer, who has been patiently waiting for the last 10 seconds or so as you stumble over "ums" and "well, you sees."
Wing it. And that's not a good answer, but it's what you have to do. It's what I did yesterday. You say the best thing that comes to your mind and hope the interviewer resonates with it. If you are facing an unpaid internship, try to realize how valuable this experience can be, either showing you that you really do or really don't want to follow that career path.
Looking at a lot of work without the benefit of money, especially when facing college bills, can be a really difficult decision. So when it comes to answering why you want the job, really look at it and ask yourself, is this worth my time? The payments for college won't make themselves, but this experience could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.