Yesterday I had my first day at my summer externship and despite bouts of paranoia and a full bladder (more on that later) I made it through the whole eight hour day. My previous internships had all ended at 2 or 3 because I would have class after, so this going until 5 thing was new to me. What did I learn? Well, here is one thing for each hour I was there.
1. Commuters deserve medals. I had to be up at 5:15 to catch a 6:55 train that got me in the city early enough for me to catch a bus that goes to my building. I’m dreading doing this three times a week for the summer and there are people who do this every day. I tip my figurative hat to them and wish them rest in their retirement (because we all know they’re not getting it now).
2. The receptionist with the bathroom key is your best friend. To keep myself alert during the day I drink a lot of water/tea/coffee which translates into a handful of bathroom runs. Be nice to the receptionist. She holds the key (literally) to your bodily comfort.
3. Hour lunch breaks are rrrreeeeaaaallllyyy long. I never took a full break at my other internships. I would eat at my desk and end up working about twenty minutes in. Yesterday, though, I went down to the cafeteria with a book and set out to stay down there for the full hour. I ended up going back to the office after thirty minutes. What are you supposed to do for the full hour?
4. No matter how hard you try, the new computer will confuse you. I’m not particularly tech-savvy, but after my other internships I thought I had a pretty good grasp on using PCs. Nope. Definitely not true.
5. On the topic of other internships, just because you used a fax machine there three months ago doesn’t mean you will remember how to use it. I’m dreading the day they ask me to fax something or change the ink in the printer, because I will have no idea what to do.
6. You will be awkward with everyone. One of my supervisors was explaining this project and asked me where my family was from to illustrate a point. I thought he meant my parents and I told him they were from Chicago, but I didn’t know the town names. I realized later he meant where I was from, not my parents. So, basically, it looked like I didn’t know what town I was from. Awkward.
7. Bring snacks. I ate breakfast at 6:00, so by the time I got to work I was starving. For the rest of my time there I will be bringing an arsenal of snacks with me. My desk is basically going to moonlight as a convenience store.
8. Eight hours is a long time, but if you like what you’re doing it’s really not that bad.