Intern Diaries: Mastering the Art of Passing the Time

[For most college students, summer means one thing: an unpaid internship. We’ve been there and we feel your pain. Whether you’re making copies, making coffee runs, or just trying to make your mark on the industry of your dreams, it’s much easier to get through it all with a little help from your (CollegeCandy) friends. So come back every week to listen/sympathize with/vent with our anonymous intern as she does her thang at a big time magazine in New York City. Because, let’s be honest, what else do you have to do in that cubicle all day?]

Some days at my internship I get to do so many fun things – like a random lunch with Kendra Wilkinson or Edie Falco, or doing a video interview of an all-male a capella group (OK, that one was a little strange…). Some days, I’m just kept busy doing any number of things, whether it’s searching for the perfect ice cream cake at Ben & Jerry’s, researching celebrities who have said they want to renew their marriages (a real project, and I swear it took up most of my afternoon), or helping out in the fashion closet (a personal fav).

But truthfully, most of the time, I am sitting in front of my computer with absolutely. nothing. to. do. And don’t think that Facebook or Twitter can keep me busy. You can only read so many mindless status updates before it makes you want to de-friend all of your friends. One day, I literally had NOTHING to do for 8 hours. It was painfully boring, but I’ve unfortunately gotten used to it. Especially this summer, since there are so many interns who need to be given tasks to do, and my intern coordinator is very fair.

So, for the other interns out there who I know know exactly what I’m talking about, here are some of my ways to make your mark and pass the time.

1. Try to get to know the other people in your office. If your intern supervisor has nothing to do, you can take it upon yourself to ask around the office if anyone else needs some help. Sometimes, people don’t ask because they forget interns are there, or they assume they’re too busy. This is a great way to do a little networking and really figure out what the office is about. Plus, you’ll look like an awesomely hard worker and everyone will appreciate it.

2. Organize and clean wherever you can. Offices are usually messy, and sometimes disorganized. At least, any magazine I’ve ever worked at is. Even if no one notices that you’ve cleaned, it’ll make YOUR job easier. File magazines away and throw out papers that you know no one needs anymore. It’s an easy way to stand out from the other interns, especially if you’re never asked to do this.

3. Do some job hunting. If you feel like this isn’t the place you want to work, or you don’t think the internship is going anywhere, spend your free time sending out your resume, because frankly, there are no excuses not to. All of the winter interns I worked with got their summer internships doing just that. I’ve found that Ed2010.com and MediaBistro.com are the best for journalism jobs.

And when those productive tasks (or that second latte) just aren’t keeping you awake, here are some more fun things I do. I like to always look like I’m doing something and not just sitting there about to fall asleep, so as long as no one looks at my computer monitor, I’m good. Of course, I’m not condoning slacking, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

1. Two words: gossip blogs. If you’re into this stuff, actually even if you’re not, these can keep you entertained for a good part of the day. Reading about all of the ridiculous things celebs do can definitely give you a much-needed laugh, plus, it’s a great way to bond with the other interns. Some personal favs of mine are: TheSuperficial.com, ONTD, WWTDD.com, JustJared.com, Vulture, and GoFugYourself.com (really, the last two are the best).

2. Make your own blog. Free time at your internship is a perfect time to start a blog, if you’re into writing or even just want a place to spew your very important thoughts. I get more blogging done at work than any other time in my life. Plus, you’ll discover so many fun and interesting blogs that I promise you’ll become addicted. Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress are all easy to use.

3. Watch something. When I get really desperate, I start playing around with Youtube and Hulu. The other day I typed in ‘Shaun White’ and was kept busy for a good hour. And for days when I really have nothing to do, I’ll look for old episodes of The Hills. It sounds awful to spend my internship time doing that, but I’ve seen worse – like one girl who used to fall asleep at her computer and thought she was fooling everyone (she wasn’t).

4. CollegeCandy. Duh!

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