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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

An internship nightmare


Takeaways from a not-so-perfect experience

If you’re feeling the mid-semester crunch to find an internship, what I’m about to say probably won’t make you feel better, but it may relieve some of the pressure of finding the perfect internship that will lead to the perfect job and the perfect future.

I started my internship the first week of spring during my sophomore year. For the first few weeks, I was thrilled to leave my apartment in Ashwood Hall every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, walk to Overbrook Station and be disgruntled with the real-life adult city-commuters while we waited for our SEPTA train to take its sweet time to arrive.

By the time I got into the city, I was even more excited to stand in line at La Colombe, a coffee shop, and order my usual, just as the adults around me did. I also loved greeting the doorman as I made my way up to my desk. This all reads like a seemingly pleasant morning, because it all took place before I actually arrived at work.

The first few weeks of my experience were exactly as one would expect—making sure the office coffee was brewed, daily client account maintenance, and the Monday morning weekly team meeting. Don’t get me wrong—I did have the opportunity to learn some things about software that were useful for a career in social media. I was able to learn how to draft the perfect 140-character message for a tweet and bring ease to an unhappy customer of a client who decided to air out grievances via their Facebook page, just to name a few. Despite poking some fun at my chores, I don’t want you to think I was performing above average intern tasks, because I was not.

However, if you’re asking me now what I took away from the eight months of my internship, I would tell you that some of my greatest takeaways include how not to fall victim to pettiness between teams, how to bite your lip when getting screamed at for not completing tasks you were never assigned, and how to gracefully accept that you were never going to see the weekly stipends they promised you when you had accepted the job.

The greatest takeaway of all, however, is that being unhappy with an internship doesn’t mean you’re not learning a huge lesson. Actually, it is quite the opposite. In spending months monitoring Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc., the platforms began to seem incredibly shallow to me.

Takeaway one: I didn’t like social media and did not want to pursue a career here. I also realized I couldn’t understand or sympathize with the seemingly immature jealousy and competition between teams—to me, we were all working on the same client projects and should have been thrilled to be collaborating together.

Takeaway two: I want a workplace and team that is passionate and excited about what they do and a team who works together to create the best possible product or service for its customers. I realized that when almost everyone in your department either quits or gets fired in the few short months you spend there, the hunch you have about not considering a full time offer is probably right on though. Maybe another opportunity will open up for you.

Takeaway three: find something else that I love.

If you’re heading into the summer with a good feeling about the offer you received for an internship, that’s phenomenal. Congratulations. If your first few weeks don’t meet your expectations, or you’re not loving what you do when you get to work, don’t sweat it. That crazy boss, monotonous schedule, or the lack of teaching are giving you the greatest lesson of all—you’re going to be happy doing something else.

Check the box on letting yourself explore this field and know that you’re one step closer to the right one. If you start your internship and you absolutely love it, then be grateful for how lucky you are and embrace every second of it.

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