Street | Humor

Wanted: Unpaid intern

As the snow piles against my dorm entrance and my daily dance with the hellish black ice continues to provide endless entertainment for the squirrels, I dream of warmer weather, summer sunshine and shorts (really, all I want is to wear shorts). But alongside my dreams of  relaxation comes my growing anxiety for the seemingly endless round of applications for internships. I flash back to Frosh Week, where we would tell tales of the wonderful times we had, how much we learned and the great people we met. But I want to call shenanigans on the whole thing.

It’s high time, I think, to explore some of the realities we face in our summer internships.

The First Day

Approaching your first day, you spend an inordinate amount of time looking for an outfit that reads professional but approachable, flexible but serious. Most importantly, it must project an image that says, “Yes, I’m cool but will definitely say yes if you want to eat lunch together.” As a result, you run in five minutes late to your cubicle space and then spend a good 20 minutes in trying to find the proper lighting for a fun first-day Instagram. Sweet social media success. You put down your packed lunch and spread out all of your belongings to mark your space. You set up your laptop and create a to-do list. Step 1: Meeting with …

The Boss

This is the one person in the office who seems to go out of his way to forget your name at least once a week. You are overwhelmed by your laundry list of projects and tasks but realize that sometimes it literally includes picking up his laundry. His ability to be right behind you at the exact moment you are checking Twitter scares you. However, you convince yourself that all of his closed-door conference calls could just be binge Youtube-watching. Besides, he wanted someone “proficient in a variety of social media platforms,” so aren’t you just living up to your resume?

Meetings

Meeting: a noun that refers to an assembly of people (typically the members of a society or committee) gathered to discuss something. A more accurate definition: a time for the overeager to share their AMAZING ideas and for the less motivated to delegate their time-consuming projects to the interns. Utilize this time for Facebook.

The Other Interns

Think Mean Girls lunchroom grows up and meets The Office staff. In the group, you will find a few types of people: the person who wants to be friends with everyone, the person whose parents got him this job, the person who ignores everyone to chat to his cooler friends, the person who is needlessly competitive and then there is you. If you are lucky, you might be able to create “office friendships” with these people. These ambiguous alliances consist of creating inside jokes about office politics, laughing at the boss’s strange habits and talking about whatever was on ABC last night. However, your interactions with them are typically limited to meetings and joint projects. If you are feeling really bold, maybe a couple of attempts to “hang out” after work hours because you are the youngest people in the office.

Lunch

A time for continued Facebook and forced office interactions. Most of the time you opt to stay in your cubicle to do more “work” because you find that by sitting discreetly in the open office spaces you can overhear most lunch conversations. Coworkers air their grievances with the office, talk about their personal life and tend to over share. However, if you’re addicted to summer TV dramas, these lunchtime conversations can be the perfect midday fix to hold you over until 8 p.m. Word of caution – keep the volume of verbal commentary to a minimum. Unlike your TV dramas, these characters can hear you.

Days 2-55

Spin in the swivel chair and count how many squares compile the ceiling tiles. Realize that the hour you thought you spent doing this was actually four minutes. Hit rock bottom and volunteer to make a coffee run.

The Last Day

There will be an overwhelming feeling of triumph as you fling the doors open for the last time. You offer a final, chirpy “Good morning!” to the receptionist with whom you had vowed to become best friends to get an in on all office gossip, but with whom only ever exchanged pleasantries. You settle into your chair for the last time. What final words will you tell the boss? Will you finally add the other interns on Facebook? You spend your lunch hour awkwardly hanging around to see if anyone will come up and tell you how much they are going to miss you. When the clock strikes that final hour, you gather up the scattered wrappers and out-of-ink pens that had become permanent friends in your cubicle. You walk towards the door for your final exit, already composing the description for your resume. “Summer Intern: collaborated with a motivated team of individuals to produce groundbreaking and innovative … ”

 

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