Shutdown threatens grades, hopes of graduation for some furloughed interns


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Have a Netflix marathon. Learn a language. Make bread. Those are all options for furloughed interns as they wait out the government shutdown.

The shutdown has lasted nine days now and along with employees at government agencies, some interns and students with federal work-study positions also find themselves on forced temporary leave.

“At first it seemed like this exciting idea — ‘oh, will the government shut down or not?’ Everyone was talking about it. It sounded like it could be a nice couple days off,” Molly Ganley told The Cornell Daily Sun. “Now I’m realizing that my whole semester is centered around this internship — so not being able to go in definitely affects me.”

Ganley, an intern at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, is one of 42 students participating in Cornell University’s Cornell in Washington Program. She and seven other fellow students in the program have suddenly found themselves with a whole lot more leisure time.

Some students also must work a certain number hours in order receive academic credit at their home institutions. American University students may have to receive an “incomplete” for their internships until they have worked the required number of hours.

For many out-of-state students, grades and graduation hinge upon completing projects at their internship sites. Museum of American History intern and Smith College student Kathryn Hart said, “We’re paying not to go to work.”

So what will they do with all their free time? Another Smith College junior and Smithsonian intern Maris Schwarz said, “I’m going to invite some friends over, hang out, and rant about classism. And cry over my empty bank account.”

H/T Ellen Rolfes