I'm an Environmental Policy & Planning Major (3rd year). I've been applying to internships over the past weeks for Spring and Summer positions. Great news: I've already been accepted to Greenpeace's "Organizing Term" and I have two other positions I will soon hear a yes/no on for Spring.
Bad News: The Greenpeace Organizing Term program will cost me $4000. The program itself is an intensive mix of activities, virtually on a full-time basis (for 2 months of summer, out of 3), including classroom trainings, expeditions to other states (as well as another country for meeting with other international activists), media trainings, and some readings. All of it is included with the cost (including flight/transport/food for a week).
What to do? (More in the extended explanation):
posted by Risiko to Work & Money (13 answers total)
My Dilemma: I want to be a part of this program for several reasons. But the most salient ones are: (1) This seems like it would be excellent experience, whether I choose to go on a career of political advocacy or otherwise -- environmental consulting, or non-profit office-type work, or government agency type work, or what have you. I know that my public communication skills will undoubtedly improve through the program. By undertaking the program itself, it shows initiative and passion. The not only improves my skillset in a personal sense, but it enhances my job prospects post-graduation too. Moreoever, while only 15 people are accepted for the program each summer, "hundreds" (I'm told) have applied. Might there be a prestige factor that helps my future prospects? Keep in mind, I plan on relying on internships more than most because my GPA is relatively mediocre (I'm working hard to change that though) (2) But also importantly is that I know I'll learn a lot from the experience, and will therefore very likely enjoy it, in general. And, if I find that I don't like it, I will have learned something very useful about myself also, and plan for my future accordingly! (3) Frankly, I have a lot of passion for environmental protection, especially the more I've study it. My generation and even progressively more so, future generations, will have to work harder to protect what is here for us.
On the other hand, I don't want to be a part of the program for the following reason: I don't have the money. Nor do my parents. Trust me, I've pleaded. Moreover, I have almost nothing to my name (despite that I am a sprendthrift compared with most of my peers.) I've worked part-time for part of my college experience. My student debt scares me but my parents have pledged do cut it down dramatically from where it will stand, so I am hopeful. So they're doing all they reasonably can already. Nor can extended family help, as far as I'm aware, but I plan to find out anyway for certain, through 'fundraising' that Greenpeace suggests financially-strapped acceptees to undertake. I've never independently fundraised before, but it'll be a learning opportunity. I'm hoping to scrounge $500 (with wide error margins) that way. Maybe I could do more, who knows -- but my relatives are middle class, and they're getting hit like everybody is now. I can also work part-time from March-May, so that'll net me $1000 more. Beyond that, I've been looking for scholarships through my University and otherwise. The program doesn't qualify for what's available, and there isn't much available right now anyway (says my University Counselor). So there is a big gap. I'm still exploring options, but that leaves me at a shortfall.
I thought some sager advice, over and above my parent's significant uneasiness about it, might be out there.
Which path do you suggest?