Ah, the unpaid internship: an ubiquitous experience that every millennial knows well. I've previously written about the importance of the passion that interns bring to Washington, D.C.
I half-jokingly describe myself as an eternal intern: I've held my fair share, and have figured out a few key lessons that are worth bearing in mind as you embark on this great journey into your desired career. Here they are:
The latter always wins.
If this does not depress you, you are not human.
You will see everything from:
People making out on the subway...
(something you can never un-see)
...to people who find it necessary to yell into their phone about their marital problems on the bus...
(something you can never un-hear)
...to people that don't understand escalators.
You will marvel at society's ability to function.
Leaving you wondering how you'll eat and pay rent.
Your job will most closely resemble the above, unless, of course, you've taken classes in Introductory Errand Running, Intermediate Letter Drafting, or Advanced Phone Calling.
While at first you may seem disappointed, don’t be: it’s all part of putting theory into practice.
No one will judge you if you cry a little bit when you realize this.
Depending on how good a writer you are, this will make you very happy:
Or very sad:
This terrible burden will teach you diplomacy.
Including, but not limited to: breaking the copier, walking into a meeting you’re not supposed to be in, and/or getting lost.
Nothing can insulate you from this. It’s okay, it’s just part of being an intern. Celebrate it
You will get practical experience in a field you find interesting, finally getting to take what you learned about in books and classrooms and implement it in the real world. You will learn that there are a lot of things you can't learn from books, and that the best jobs are the ones you learn through baptism by fire. You will find yourself in a cohort of people who will interest you endlessly: some opening your eyes and intellectually challenging you, some providing an example of who you don't want to be, and some that will be your role models despite how close you are in age. You will walk away with amazing personal and professional connections, and revel in reminiscing about the good old days over coffee on rainy afternoons. The financial punch in the gut, the early mornings, the commuters that inspired in you both feelings of fellowship in common misery and an unquenchable desire to throttle them and the grunt work will all be worth it.