Believe me, I understand how frustrating it is giving a company 15-20 hours of your time each week and getting no monetary gain out of it. It can seem like a waste of time, and you may feel a bit taken advantage of. The important thing to remember is that you absolutely get out of this experience what you put into it. Hopefully, the bitter taste in your mouth will sweeten up when you have gained a job offer, or at the least a letter of recommendation for your records.
In a perfect world, companies would take on new grads with all their beautiful raw potential with delight and groom you to be the best. Unfortunately, we don’t life in that ideal world—we live in a society where more and more grads are competing for small niche positions—and we compete, and fight to the finish. It’s an awful reality, but its how it is. So what does one do when life gives them lemons (aka and unpaid internship)? Make the best out of it! Have fun but work hard!
If you find yourself with an unpaid internship, my biggest advice is to just make sure it’s worth your time. Don’t stick around somewhere if you are being treated poorly, or if you feel undervalued. I hear so many stories about people who hate every second at an agency they are interning at. This in the end wastes your time, and the agencies time. Make sure you are somewhere that takes advantage of your skills, and in exchange, gives you guidance and feeds your creativity!
Trust me, your free time will be well spent.