When I first started this internship in December, there were only a handful of other girls with me. We spent most of our days interning together gossiping quietly behind our computer screens, venting angrily about the ridiculous tasks we were asked to do, and showing each other funny YouTube clips to pass the time. For the entire spring semester, we bonded in a way only unpaid jobless college graduates can: we shared tips on how to get jobs and which websites had the best job postings, we discussed the different interviews we had gone on, and made fun of the other editors in the room with us. We became Facebook friends and followed each other on Twitter, and eventually, we started going out for dinner and drinks throughout Manhattan.
And at the end of the semester, when their internships had come to an end and I was the only one left at the magazine, I came to the sad realization that it was time to make new intern friends.
For a little while, I was one of the only interns at the magazine. I missed my friends from before – there wasn’t anyone to go on 5 o’clock coffee runs with – but while I couldn’t wait for the other interns to start, a part of me liked having all the responsibility. The summer interns started to slowly trickle in at the end of May, until suddenly one day I walked in and they were everywhere.
It felt odd at first, being the only intern who had experience at the magazine. I told the other girls how to do the different things we were told to do, but some of them made their own way of doing things and I was left wishing the old batch of interns was still around. The whole group of us just didn’t get along the way the winter interns had… and I’m not going to lie, it was a big disappointment.
Making friends with the girls you intern with is a huge plus when you start an internship. After all, who can understand what you’re going through more than the girl who’s right next to you on the Starbucks line for the late-night editor coffee run? Not to mention it’s a great networking tool – a lot of these girls will go on to work for various other magazines or PR firms, and knowing people in different companies is always helpful. Really, it’s just nice to come in to work and have someone to giggle with over silly celebrity gossip – it passes the time and makes not getting paid just a little bit easier.
But at the same time, it’s almost difficult to make friends with these girls knowing that all of you want the same exact thing: a job offer. And obviously, not all of you can get it. The group of girls I work with at the moment are ambitious, and a little bit intimidating. Two of the girls are tall, skinny, and the kind of pretty that you can’t ignore. A few of the other girls have resumes that make me feel like going back to school. A couple of other girls snatch up events so fast I’ve found myself checking my email more than a few times each hour. And I’m starting to feel slightly territorial – like, listen girls, I’ve been interning here since December. If a position opens up, it’s MINE.
But despite all that (and some passing urges to trip the other interns on the way into big meetings) we are all warming up to one another. There have been a few gossiping sessions in the library, a few “laugh so hard I cry” moments at my desk, and even talk of all of us going out for drinks. Maybe some people would choose being competitive over being friendly, but in the end I think I’d rather have the other interns on my side.
Yes, my future is on the line here, but having friends at work makes the present so much more bearable.