They say April showers bring May flowers, but do you know what May flowers bring? That’s right: June part-time to full-time unpaid federal loopholes known as summer internships. As many of us prepare for another summer with record temperatures and record rent prices, I figured now’s a great time to share some advice I learned last year when meandering through my first internship. I’d like to help other Vassar students learn from my (many) mistakes as they prepare for their 12 weeks of hell.
Smile, smile, smile!
My first piece of advice to interns is that a grin from ear to ear goes a long way with showing your gratefulness for having such a great opportunity to work at the multi-billion dollar establishment laboring you for 20 to 40 hours each week. Ideally, other interns and employees should notice and ask about your beaming smile, or point out you have something in your teeth. Either way, you’ll certainly be more memorable and only improve your chances at getting a call back for another opportunity to work for the company—or at least free dental advice.
Establish your dominance
Many people don’t know this, but getting a head start (and looking like prime hiring material) is to establish your dominance between yourself and the other interns. Doing this will not only make you look like upper management material, but also help you get a heads up about all the cool intern projects, intern events and other activities to take before your peers. Ideally you’d turn the intern rat race into a sort of intern empire, with you ruling and managing over the other interns, their priorities, and your tasks. This is an especially good option for those considering a future in management consulting, or if you want to become a better Dungeons Master.
Fetch that coffee!
A lot of internships brag about offering “hands-on” experience as a “member of a real team,” but don’t mention you “running coffee around to your boss” or “burying the bodies” or “washing dishes.” But what people don’t realize is that having a job bringing your boss coffee is a blessing, not a curse. It gives you at least 15 minutes to get yourself some coffee, plus some time without worrying about your big project due at the end of the month. And (especially early on in your internship) pretending to do something that looks like actual work is key, since your boss hasn’t quite yet figured out what to do with you for 12 weeks. Plus, you get some quality time with your employer, allowing you to slip a resume or two under their nose while they sip double caramel lattes with soy milk. Even if they don’t glance at it, they may use it to mop up any coffee spills. See? Useful!
Lie your way to the top
There’s an old Yiddish saying: “To tell a half-truth is a whole lie.” What it REALLY should say is, “To tell a half-truth saves you a lot of hassle from your boss and gets you home half an hour earlier each day.” By the way, did I mention that you should tell your boss that you worked through lunch every day you go home early?
Don’t sweat the stress dreams
Okay, this one’s pretty self-explanatory. So you know those sort of wake-up-with-a-cold-sweat-screaming moments when you have that dream where you forgot to put on those new cover sheets for your TPS reports? Imagining it happening for a week each time you go to sleep because your boss approached you that one time when you forgot to do it. Anyways, you’re going to end up making mistakes during your internship and the best you can do is just make it through those nightmares with some heavy liquor or a lot of new Zzzquil stuff Nyquil made without the cold medicine part.
Don’t forget about the TPS report cover sheets
Anyways, there’s a short look at some tips that could really get you through that first week, month or lifetime at your internship…unless you just sit at home all day and write listicles. But, hey, maybe this is in a way a lot like a listicle—does Buzzfeed still have any openings left?