A young woman has unleashed her rage at the idea of having to work “for free” after years in college in order to graduate or “get a real job.”
Yash, 23, a college student from Queensland, recently revealed that studying psychology was causing her a lot of stress and anxiety.
“Studying psychology in Australia is a scam and it’s inherently so classic,” she said.
Psychology students are expected to complete 1,000 “client hours” of unpaid internships over two years, 200 of which will be face-to-face.
And she’s not alone: students studying anything related to psychology, social work, nursing or teaching must first “work” for free before they can apply for a paid job.
Many students in these fields argue that the more than 2,000 required hours are “impossible” to complete in the standard three-year time frame without external financial support.
Yash, 23, a college student from Queensland, recently revealed that studying psychology was causing her a lot of stress and anxiety
Under Australia’s Fair Work Act, students completing vocational apprenticeships are not entitled to minimum wage or other benefits as they are not considered employees.
The Australian Department of Education released a report in March 2023 showing that 62 per cent of domestic students take six years to complete a bachelor’s degree, with 9 per cent not returning to university after the first year.
Unpaid internships often cause students to drop out of college or work part-time to get an extra job to pay bills.
Yash revealed that getting through her undergraduate degree and moving on to her master’s was extremely difficult.
The mental toll the workload put on her—and other students—was enough to cause severe burnout and loss of passion.
“If you’re privileged to get three years of undergrad and then honors and masters, you’ve essentially spent six years in college, not working full-time wages, not getting a super, and missing out on the greatest years of composition in your life.”
The 23-year-old stressed how exploitative the unpaid labor really was.
“It’s my second year doing an internship with an organization that has enough money to pay me for my work,” she said.
“But they’ve been relying on college students’ idea of unpaid work for so long — so there’s no reason to change.”
Yash has to make 1,000 customer hours in two years – but it’s even harder than it looks.
She often shows up for eight-hour days with only one contact hour to show up for it due to last-minute cancellations.
“People have to take on an overabundance of clients and work us to pieces with the unpredictability.”
“My fellow students have more clients than paid workers because we’re under pressure to get the hours in.”
“If we don’t do that (finish our hours) we won’t get our degree and everything will be pushed back.”
Yash revealed that several of her friends were worked around the clock, after hours, on weekends, and also had catering jobs to pay their bills.
“We have so much hard work to do before we get into the workforce,” she sighed.
Thousands studying in fields related to psychology, social work, education and nursing claim the more than 2,000 required hours are ‘impossible’ to complete in the standard three-year time frame without outside financial support
Many agreed with her, claiming they were “sick” and “tired” of mandatory unpaid internships.
“University staff are an exploited working class in Australia,” said one man. “Not to mention this process ruining your mental health, when the profession as a whole is about improving mental health.”
Another woman added, “Psychology, social work, education, nursing, etc. are crucial and help fill gaps in those areas, but we’re getting the short end of the stick.”
“It’s such a flawed system because the people who can’t afford to work full time for it for years are the ones who are most needed in the field!” said a third.
Another even revealed how her professors told her not to “avoid” a job during her honors year.
What if you need rent? Or an income to live on?’ she asked instead.