I’ve had “internships” before where I would be held responsible for certain tasks and hours each week. My first “internship” didn’t even complete itself because the head of the organization forgot about the interns. My second “internship” was a little more legitimate where I would have to call in if I was going to miss a day. But still, during my second “internship” I frequently had to ask if there was anything I could do and even when I would go above and beyond, I was still bored. So, when applying for my first real summer internship I wanted to make sure I was actually going to be busy and it was going to be real. But, how real can a real internship get?
I am currently going into my junior year of college. I have been told millions of times by Newhouse that this summer is the summer to get a good internship. I’ve been told that this is how I will make connections and survive in the real world. Me being the workaholic overachiever that I am decided to start early. I wanted to get the best possible internship out there. I began my resume and cover letters during winter break, all my materials had been sent in my January and by early March I had interviews. I had applied to 13 publications (I am a magazine major). I applied to some big name places like Marie Claire and some smaller publications like Wet Feet Universum. I just wanted to keep busy and gain as much experience as possible.
After endless interviews I was getting concerned – what internship would be right for me? I had had three offers, only one of which I was thrilled about. I had one more interview left and if I got this internship I was going to take it. You’d be surprised how much work you actually have to do to get an internship – you know, that job where you do slave away for no money. For one publication I had to fact check a three page article (and of course nothing was online so I had to make phone calls) during my spring break and write an entire article based on the magazine’s writing style. These tasks were just to get the interview. Once I got the interview (thank God) I then had to meet with two people and do another fact checking test. This one was even more challenging because I had to find the incorrect facts and list 3 places I would go to check them. I left the interview with no confidence. I had blown it.
One and a half weeks later I got an e-mail from my boss Sarah* who offered me the internship. I would begin working Monday – Thursday from 9:30-5 p.m. I would have to take the train down to my Center City, Philadelphia office. Real responsibility. I had never been more excited. I began last Monday and on the first day was literally gushing with excitement. I got my own cubicle, my own company e-mail, my own phone line with an extension and my own lunch break! After settling in I was ready for some real work. I waited and waited. I got an e-mail from Sarah, my first assignment was to get phone numbers from huge people in the city of Philadelphia, including Charlie Manuel (head coach of the Phillies) and Olivia Nutter (daughter of current mayor of Philadelphia). How was I ever going to find these? After nagging my fellow intern Shawn* I finally figured it out. I was exhausted and it was only noon. I had a long way to go.
Since my little freak out I have done a lot…but also a little. Let me explain, I’ve completed tasks such as running special copies of our magazine to various locations in the city, fact checking and editing articles, cropping photos and placing them on the web, attending work meetings and reading back issues. I know I’ve only been here for two weeks but I’m already ready for more. Our June issue just hit stands last Wednesday, therefore the July issue is just beginning production. So, this means that right now there is minimal work. According to Erin* and Shawn (who were interns here last year) the next two weeks will really be crunch time. Me? I don’t believe them. Everything here is so relaxed. While I am so happy I’m not getting yelled at on a daily basis or running to go get coffee I want to do more. Maybe Newhouse has over prepared me or maybe I’m just bored. But I want this to be a real internship. I want to go all over town and do research, interview people and find out information. Again, this might change but for right now I want more.
After talking to friends who are going into their senior year and have had internships before, they have told me they felt the same way. Most companies believe that interns are interns and that we are not that knowledgeable because we are still students. I’d like to change that. Thursday was my last day for the week and then I begin again on Monday. I’ll keep you updated and let you know what happens next. But for now, I stand my ground when I say internships at magazines aren’t as fast paced as you would think.
*Names have been changed