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Just for context: I am a computer science major doing a software engineering internship at a pretty big company.

So let me start this out by mentioning that the internship I'm doing right now is great. I like my managers/mentor, I get along with the other inters, my task is challenging but interesting, and I've enjoyed my time so far (2 weeks) as an intern, even though I really haven't done much because my mentor has been super busy.

I was brought on as an intern to work on a project for 6 months headed by my mentor and I. It's an internal tool that'll supposedly improve certain processes through automation. I've only met with my mentor once because these past few weeks he's had another project taking up all his time.

Anyway, when I first applied I only wanted to work for 2 months so I could go back to school in September. However they wanted me to work for 6, which meant I would have to take a semester off. I am a senior with two semesters left, so taking a semester off meant my graduation would be pushed back by about 6 months which made me reluctant to accept, but after talking to my adviser I decided to take the opportunity.

However recently I've learnt that taking a semester off may cause more problems for me than I initially imagined. Our school just switched from a trimester systems back to a semester system, which already caused my graduation to be pushed back a couple of months (originally slated to graduate in February - now graduation is late April). Taking this semester off initially would have meant an estimated graduation date sometime in December, but due to the shift in schedule the availability of some of the senior level computer science classes may cause my graduation to be extended to 2019, which is not desirable. The biggest dilemma for me is that missing a semester will cause me to lose out on a merit scholarship that I heavily rely on to go to school.

When I accepted the internship, I understood the consequences but now thanks to some new info it seems much worse, and I'm honestly considering going back to school instead of finishing my internship. Since I am not the best at confronting these difficult situations, I was wondering how I should bring it up to my manager. Also, will I still be able to list this on my resume as a "2 month internship"? This is my first time experiencing something like this and I'm not sure how to go about things. I'm definitely going to talk to my manager and see what he thinks, I'm just not sure how I should bring it up.

Thank you in advance for your help. Please let me know if I am missing any crucial details!

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I'd bring it up with your manager and ask them to work with you. The worst that can happen is they refuse, in which case you can decide whether or not to quit. Best case, they either agree to terminate the internship early on good terms, or even possibly do something remote (although for an internship this is unlikely).

If they don't work with you and seem upset that you want to leave- I'd consider just leaving it off your resume. There is no legal or ethical requirement that you list every job you ever worked at on your resume. I definitely wouldn't use anyone there as a reference. The big fear here is a potential future employer talking to the company and bad mouthing you. I'd probably lean towards an empty resume being better than one that only speaks negatively.

  • Thank you for your response! I was definitely thinking about doing that - the only thing that I had a problem with is that this is partially my fault, since I did accept the internship and told them that I could take the semester off with what now turned out to be flawed/incomplete information. I'm just wondering how I should bring this up, when this was already a point of discussion before starting the internship. – jwoff Jul 12 '17 at 3:07
  • There is the possibility it won't go well- as you did accept the role. Just stay calm, be appologetic, but be firm to what you decide. Tell them that due to the changes at school, you didn't fully understand your situation and didn't realize all the consequences. They aren't going to be happy, but they may be understanding. And if they aren't and you decide the best thing to do is go back to school, then you don't really need to care that they aren't. – Gabe Sechan Jul 12 '17 at 3:13
  • You make a great point. Thank you again for your answer! – jwoff Jul 13 '17 at 0:35

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