An intern on being an intern

Carly Besser Opinion Editor

I’m out of here in May.

That’s right. After four years at Murray State, I will get my degree in journalism. Whether the abject poverty, stress and tears were worth it will be determined by whether or not I get the career I’ve spent years preparing for.

Part of me has the same cold feet that most students feel around this time of year. Some cautiously tip-toe into the adult world, some crawl into the womb that is called “grad school” and some do something completely unrelated to their major.

While the unpredictability of my future makes me nervous, I know I’ve upped my chances with two internships and a four-year stint here at The News. While I may have quite a bit to put on my resume, I’m probably not even going above and beyond the call of duty.

Professors will tell you that an internship is almost required to get a career. When you get that internship, some will say that one isn’t enough and to go for two. Two or more internships, at one point in time, were achieved by those who tried way harder than they had to. However, multiple internships at this day and age are considered a standard.

As much as I grimace about the declining value of my future degree, I bit the bullet and did the grunt work of these internships. After spending two summers of my life being at the bottom of the totem pole, there is some knowledge that can be shared.

Don’t let the work environment scare you from your career path. You’ll probably question why you are pursuing a marketing degree to water ferns in the office.

Sometimes, the tasks you do as an intern reflect little on what you will do as an entry-level employee. If all marketing agents did was water plants, there would probably be a college of watering plants here.

Don’t wear your attitude on your sleeve. Doing menial work for minimum wage may be degrading. You may feel disappointed and that your potential is being wasted, but don’t let anyone know it.

This one was particularly difficult for me. Once I was able to prove that I could write articles about church picnics well, I was trusted with murder trials, government stories and more. If you don’t have a poker face, work on one.

Buddy up with your temporary co-workers. In a lot of cases, your co-workers will give you more valuable knowledge than your supervisors. Not that supervisors don’t care about you, but they’re too busy to hover around you and track your progress by the week.

Many of your co-workers were once interns themselves. They’ll tell you what about their job is the most rewarding, the worst things about the job and what makes upper-level employees especially happy.

They weren’t born in the cubicle. They went to college just like the rest of us.

Also, if your internship is in a place where you know nobody or nothing, a couple of new friends will help you from going insane.

For some, the college experience at Murray State is just beginning. For other students like me, we are clumsily crossing over into the perpetual hangover that is adulthood. Are you as prepared as you think you are?

 

Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor