5 things you experience during your summer internship
After weeks of pumping out last minute cover letters and filling out tedious applications, nothing felt better than finally hearing back from, and accepting, that coveted summer internship. You were stoked, gushing to dear old mom and dad who then made it their mission to tell everyone they’ve ever met how proud they were of you. School got out and you might have had the luxury of a week off in between to enjoy yourself. But then it hits you, your first day is tomorrow, you have no idea how to navigate the subway and you have no idea what "business casual" means. Chances are this is how your summer internship went.
After countless stereotypes of interns whose sole existence is to fetch coffee, you are promptly proved wrong. Being an intern really means you have to do all of the mindless work your supervisor doesn’t want to do AND probably fetch coffee. While you may have been lucky enough to do something significant and moderately interesting, you were probably trying to decode a program from 1998 that everybody in the office hates using but neglects to upgrade. It was a sweltering summer of Excel spreadsheets, Concur expense reports and Outlook emails. But hey, at least you learned something, right?
For those of you lucky enough to land a glamourous internship in New York City, that glitzy bubble likely burst after your third day on NJ Transit. With aging tunnels and ancient systems that were only further corroded as a result of Superstorm Sandy, delays became a regular thing this past summer. And with a hefty price tag of $26 for a single round trip to the city from New Brunswick, one would expect complimentary breakfast and a foot massage, or to at least get to their destination on time.
The Work Environment
After walking blocks under the glaring sun or melting in the subway, chances are you stepped into an office with fluorescent lighting and air conditioning on blast. By 11 o’clock, you were freezing and asking yourself why you didn’t bring a sweater — again. Your day consisted of awkward silence and debating on whether or not you should chime in on the office conversation. Employees either ignored you or emailed you every 35 minutes with a new task that needed to get done ASAP, even though you couldn’t have possibly finished the last super important, priority, ASAP task that was emailed to you before.
The Not-So-Fellow interns
If you worked alongside a team of interns this summer, chances are you experienced passive aggressive behavior on multiple occasions. Hailing from various schools across the country, and desperate for an outstanding letter of recommendation, it wouldn’t be far off to say that everyday was an unspoken fight for the top. Everybody wants to be the star intern, come on, you know you’re guilty. To be fair, Johnny from the University of Miami wasn’t all bad when he finally stopped talking about EDM and made the occasionally funny joke about your boss.
The Silver Lining
While everyone likes to complain about their internship, you definitely don’t regret doing it. The feeling you get on the last day of your internship is kind of like graduation goggles, you start to miss it because it’s over. Chances are, you did learn something useful, even if it was simply realizing that you have no interest in that line of work. Your supervisor probably left you with some advice and thanked you for all your hard work. The next time you get on a Rutgers bus you might even get a little nostalgic for the gentle rumble of the train and the pungent aroma of Brother Jimmy’s BBQ that wafted in the air every time you pulled into the New Brunswick train station. Even if you can’t relate to any of this, at the end of the day, you can chalk it up to a good experience that will look killer on your resume. That is all. Insert Miranda Priestly GIF here.