Another year, another summer and, as I’m sure many of you reading have done or are in the process of doing, time for another internship. Taking an internship is seen as an important step in pretty much every program around here, be it research based or arts based. Hell, I can’t even tell you off the top of my head how many members of our own staff are off living a life of indentured servitude to their temporary bosses.
As for me, this is the first time in my college career when I have not undertaken a summer internship. I have, instead, opted for a summer of gallivanting and seeing bands like Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Everclear, Marcy Playground, Lit and Sugar Ray while I get absolutely blitzed on White Russians.
Personally, I feel that the whole internship conceptr — the unpaid type especially — is particularly fucked, but you’ll read more about that further into the issue in a lovely, thoughtful piece on pages eight and nine.
Depending on where you go, you can get some real-world experience. I know I certainly got more than my fair share of field reporting experience at one of my three internships and learned a thing or two about how to handle a camera, as well as how to approach and manage a situation when reporting on delicate matters like a deceased child.
Hell, I even got to super-freeze various items in a container of liquid nitrogen, learning once and for all that most things won’t really shatter like the hockey jersey in D3: The Mighty Ducks, but it’s still damn cool.
Unfortunately, sometimes they can be more trouble than they’re worth. I was working as an intern at a very popular tech news website when it was rocked by a scandal concerning “checkbook journalism” and the alleged company purchase of stolen property. Every day had me involved with a company in the midst a PR nightmare, until I eventually left before it was over, washing my hands of the situation.
I learned two things from that fiasco: the first being that if a piece of news like that just falls into your lap like that, something’s up, and the second being that you can take both the flat lid and the lid with the sippy bit on top at the 7-Eleven coffee island and stack them on top of each other. Not only do they fit perfectly, but they make it so you really have to try and spill that coffee. (Really, it works! Try it!). This is super useful when carrying two trays full of coffee for two city blocks.
What it comes down to is this; the internships you get really are hit or miss. You could end up scoring one that has you doing something fantastic, but you could also have to go report on a town-funded Smash Mouth concert, as I saw a fellow SBU student doing as part of her internship. Or you could be spending your summer like The Press’ own Nick Batson, creating photo captions, lugging a bunch of heavy camera equipment through airports and spending a small fortune in train fare.
They’re a necessary evil, really. Can I guarantee that you’ll learn something useful from the experience that you’ll use for years to come? Fuck no. Will it make you look better to a potential employer down the road? Ever-so-slightly, yes.
So sleep tight in your bed, dear reader, and know that the summer(s) you’ve spent not getting paid for your work, either burning through your own savings or leeching off your parents like a parasite, will probably be worth slightly more than nothing in the long run. But probably not.