Internship Dilemma.... URGENT!

Hello everyone,

I just graduated from Virginia Tech’s ID program and am currently interning at a large power tool design studio in the southern US. I’m a little over a month into the three month internship and they are already asking the interns that we let them know if we would like to extend the internship. The deadline is this Friday. While designing power tools is pretty sweet, this is still my first internship and I would definitely like to try out a consultancy (one that specializes in technology and consumer electronics) before I decide on which route to go for full-time. Since I’ve been busy all summer working, I’ve only had the occassional weekend to work on my portfolio and haven’t been able to send it out yet. However, it should be finished this weekend (I’m also planning on posting it on these forums for some feedback first).

I’m not sure what to do. I really don’t want to risk not having an internship in the fall because I will need to start paying back student loans at that point and need an income but at the same time I don’t want to miss out on an awesome opportunity like this summer. They wanted me to commit to this internship way back in early February, about a month before other places got back to me and I missed out on a dream internship opportunity at Lunar Design.

I’m not sure if I should tell my current employer that I want to stay and then just turn down the internship at a later point if something else is offered to me. I wouldn’t exactly be comfortable doing this and going back on my word. Another option is to decline it or ask for more time.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!


They’re merely asking you so that is you say no. They can begin looking for new interns for the Fall.

The best time to look for a job, is when you have one. Yes it may be hard to work on your portfolio after work or on the weekend. But remember there’s countless other grads out there doing the same thing right now. If you want those high level internship/jobs, gotta put in the work up front.

My thoughts. a 3 month internship gets your familiar with the process, but doesn’t give you much time to really start designing and soaking up the intricacies of the company. At 6 months you should be full absorbed into the process and have a good understanding of the design and hopefully a good amount of work to show for it.

But on the flipside. Your work is good, (googled you). Sometimes you gotta just take the risk and hope it pays off. You’re young and mobile now, so its the best time to just buckle down and switch industries and try for what you want. I have a few friends who just moved to SF without a job offer and made it work. Took a bit of time and energy. But you still have 2 months between the time you say no to the extension and the time you need to have another foot in the door. Totally doable.

I totally agree with that, if it’s a paid internship, I’ll stay there a bit more and learn as much as possible. You’ll have much more experience by the time you starting preparing a new portfolio. In my opinion, 3 more months will pass by really fast and you’ll be better prepared and more attractive to potential employers.

I was in almost exactly the same situation, minus the student debt. I had an internship where at the end of summer before my senior year they basically wanted to hire me after graduation and asked if I would come back. I turned down the offer to pursue what I wanted to do, graduated summer 2001, and a few months later was 9/11, all of my prospects put hiring on hold, and I ended up going back to school and working in retail/manufacturing for the next two years to pay rent while I worked on my portfolio and applied for jobs. At that point I decided to lower my expectations of finding a job in game design or consumer electronics down to any “real” design job, and so I ended up in event and exhibit design, which I enjoy because there is much more variety (and speed) in the projects.

In this economy don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I’d take the additional 3 months, as others said you will get more experience and learn more, but you never know what additional contacts you might make or what kind of relationships you might build while you’re there.

Have you reached back out to Lunar for a potential fall internship? I would.

Three months, while convenient for those with phenomena like ‘summer vacations’ (e.g. students), doesn’t map to any real-world calendars )aside from various quarterly accounting reports). I would suggest for the most/best experience to stick out the extra three months, using that time not just to work on projects but get to know some of the staff or senior staff on a more personal basis and find out how their careers have progressed. This is simply something that takes times and familiarity.

Thanks for the quick replies!

I think I’m just going to be honest and tell them I’m still waiting to hear back from a few places and want to make the most informed decision possible. I also don’t want to be second guessing whether I made the right decision later on. I’m kinda dealing with that right now knowing I could have waited and had an internship more in line with what I want. I think its also affected my work at my current internship slightly.

I was waiting to contact them again until I could add my senior thesis project to my portfolio. It’s probably my strongest project at the moment and I want to send them my best work.

Thank you for your input Sain. I checked out your stuff and saw that you worked at Bould Design, one of the places I sent my work to back in February. Unfortunately they aren’t hiring an intern this year but Fred Bould was nice enough to send a reply anyways which is better than most places these days.

Hey Jase -

In regards to contacting Lunar…from your initial post, it sounds like you received an internship offer from them in the past? If so, I would get back in contact with them regardless of having your senior thesis or not if that’s a dream opportunity of yours. These situations can be very time sensitive and if they want to see more work (like your senior thesis) set aside a weekend and crank it out to a presentable format. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Hi Quinn,

I told Lunar right away that I had already accepted another internship so I never actually got an offer. I’m working on cover letters this weekend while I get feedback on my portfolio and they will be one of the first I contact this weekend. In the meantime, I would love to get your feedback on my updated portfolio. I have a thread in the portfolio forum if you have a chance to take a look.