June has flashed by, as have the first months of many college students’ internships. With training and grace periods abruptly dissipating into the new intern abyss, it's time to buckle up and start driving the experienced intern car, license plate “TIME2WORK.” Five diverse college students interning in New York City and surrounding areas have given College Magazine their feedback on what it’s like to be an intern, with fun (and not so fun) tidbits after completing their first four weeks.
Melissa Spechler, junior public relations major at Pennsylvania State University, is interning at a boutique PR firm in NYC that focuses on the promotion of beauty product companies. Her daily responsibilities include pitching products to newspapers and magazines, updating databases and press clipping. Spechler has been having a generally positive experience, yet she has been feeling the infamous stress of the PR industry. “So far, it has been a really good experience… I am learning things that I know I am going to have to know when it comes to getting an actual job after college…The only really bad thing is that I’m working from nine to six and basically don’t get breaks,” Spechler said.
Dave Podlofsky, sophomore communication major at the University of Miami, is interning at a catering company on Long Island and can’t be more positive about it. Having worked in the food industry for years as a waiter and deliveryman, Podlofsky hopes to get into the field on a more “corporate level.” “If I could work with food, but more on the business end, I’d be working my dream job,” Podlofsky said.
Junior English major at Boston College*, Sarah Fletcher* is interning at a NYC non-profit organization specializing in the arts. Her official title is Marketing and Program Intern, which in Fletcher's words “is just a fancy name for bitch work.” Fletcher works nine to five hours as the organization’s only intern, leaving much of the lower responsibilities on her. “They expect me to know anything and everything they want me to do. I have never been in an internship experience before and as many interns can tell you, much of what we learn at school does not apply to a work setting…I do wish the company had provided me with training,” Fletcher said.
Ben Spivack, sophomore economics major at the University of Michigan, is interning at a real estate development company on Long Island. Spivack mainly assists the development associate, with daily tasks including “working with excel and cash flow statements, talking to clients and making proposals,” he said. Unclear about what he really wants to do with his life, Spivack is appreciating the experience. “I enjoy it. I am learning real estate basics, and so far it seems interesting… I’m gaining business experience, which is a must early on if you want to make it,” Spivack said.
Junior dietetics major at the University of Maryland, Rachael Spinner has an internship in the medical field, working at an internist’s office on Long Island. Most of her day consists of shadowing doctors and nurses; however she is sometimes tasked with weighing patients, filling out paper work and her personal highlight, giving a patient an EKG heart test. In such a cutthroat profession, Spinner feels behind on her internship experience. “I feel like so many people in my major have already gotten some sort of hands-on work experience and I just started my first internship. My ultimate goal is to be a physician’s assistant, so the work atmosphere I am in is perfect for me. It’s great for my resume and will definitely look good for P.A. [physician’s assistant] school,” Spinner said.
Although challenging, most internships prove to be rewarding, providing students with worthwhile and necessary experience. It's a taste of the real world, something many students don’t experience in the almost perfect bubble called college. Any career path will undoubtedly be tough, but starting the process with internship experience will definitely help to smooth out the process.
*School and name has been changed