It’s finally here: week ten of my summer internship at Magazine X in New York City. I’m proud to report that I’ve made it through numerous days of unpaid labor and braved the horrible commuting conditions (apparently Mother Nature decided that this summer was going to be characterized by either torrential downpours or blazing heat, and nothing in between), and I actually managed to have a pretty good time while doing so. I only had to get someone coffee twice (and I could get myself one too, so leaving the office for a Starbucks run wasn’t too awful), and I have a ton of good clips to add to my resume.
So what have I learned?
Taking the steps to make connections is totally worth it, especially in an economy that’s making it so hard to get jobs. Sometimes I felt like I was harassing editors or taking away from their precious time when I asked them if they had fifteen minutes to sit down with me and talk about their careers or give me advice. Maybe I really was bothering or inconveniencing them, but I never had anyone turn me down and I ended up having conversations with a number of people that I will definitely use as references when I’m trying to get a real job next year.
If you work with other interns, don’t even think about getting all competitive/weird/crazy with the hopes that your boss will think you’re the better worker and more deserving of a job later down the road. Don’t try to out-do your fellow intern. Share tasks, work together (I promise, you’ll get things done faster and your manager will be impressed with your cooperation with your cubicle-mate), and make a friend! You’ll be much happier if you have someone to laugh with, complain to, and crack-out with (long days staring at a computer screen can make you a little cuckoo if you know what I mean) than someone who hates you because you treated this internship like a reality show. Which it is not.
There are tons of homeless weirdos in midtown, probably because they figure that surrounding themselves with wealthy white collar workers will up their chances of getting some spare change. The intern that I work with has an oddly strange friendship with one of them, who she refers to as “Homeless Puppy Man” (I’ve seen a tiny hairy creature sitting on his lap. I guess it’s a dog but I always thought it looked more like a ferret…), and yesterday a different homeless person drew her a portrait. I’m not kidding.
The best breakfast to get you through the day is, by far, the turkey bacon-egg white-cheese on an English muffin breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. Seriously, it’s the perfect blend of protein and carbs to keep you alert and full until you can finally sneak away for something to eat at 3 p.m.
Find a comfortable pair of shoes and wear them every day, especially if you’re frequenting the subways during rush hour (you’ll get stomped on) or running errands for your bosses (you’ll still get stomped on). You should also find a good bar for post-work happy hour. I just won a free happy hour at a pub in Midtown, and all of my friends will get half-priced drinks from 6 to 9 on the night of my choice! It really is the best way to de-stress, especially if the bar you choose is across the street from your favorite cupcake shop (mine is, and I’ve had a few red velvet cupcakes this summer… to say the least).