Every job seems to want previous experience, so interning is more important than ever. Dozens and dozens of emails result in multiple polite rejections but then finally; someone is willing to take a chance on you. You're ready to get out there into the wide world and take the first step on the career ladder....
1) You double, triple, quadruple check that you've got the contact's name right in the email exchanges (and that there are no spelling mistakes that'll make them question giving you the work experience).
2) It dawns on you that you have just agreed to work for two weeks... For free.
3) The alarm goes off at a time that you haven't seen for a while.
4) You plan to get there nice and early to be seen to be keen... This lasts precisely 1 day, 2 if you're dedicated.
5) Fear of being under dressed means you probably end up being the smartest dressed person in the office.
6) The contact meets you and settles you at a desk... Now what?
7) No seriously, you haven't got any work to do, when is it acceptable to ask?
8) You never get up or speak to anyone; all interactions take place through email even if the person is sitting next to you.
9) Looking around, you seem to be the youngest by about 10 years.
10) Is it cheeky to go and make yourself a tea/ coffee? No, not if you offer to others as well, now you just look like a good intern.
11) Being sent on an errand outside of the office brings back the same feeling as being sent on an errand by a teacher and getting to leave the classroom...now with a slight feeling of vulnerability.
12) You think about all the interns they've had before you and wonder if they were more competent than you.
13) When others in the office start conversations with you, you feel incredibly grateful.
14) Yet at the same time, should you keep the conversation going? You might be distracting them and they were only being polite.
15) Or is it rude not to keep the conversation going, now you just seem rude.
16) This whole conversation malarkey is causing a lot of stress, you remember why you try and speak to other human beings as little as possible.
17) Lunchtime arrives... But no one moves or acknowledges this fact. You feel as though all eyes are judging you and your need for food as you get up and leave.
18) Using an app or homing pigeon style internal pull, you find the nearest well-known café/ coffee bar and truly relax for the first time all day.
19) Leaving your chair unguarded carries the slight risk that someone will assume it's unused and either sit in it or carry it off. To avoid confrontation you start wondering if it's possible to just work without a chair.
20) Within a few days you start to get into the swing of things and there's now a confident element to your walk.
21) Pride comes before a fall, something goes wrong. You've got two options, you can hide the mistake and hope they find out after you've left or own up and hope the "I didn't know, I'm an intern" card will save you.
22) We are a generation that doesn't ring people unless it's an emergency, so being asked to use the phone creates a sense of panic.
23) It's never a simple phone or computer you're given to use and you feel a fool asking for help.
24) It's time to ask another question, how many more can you get away with before your boss breaks?
25) Dammit, the answer to that question was obvious - you've wasted a precious question.
26) So THAT's why people are so happy when it's Friday, working is knackering, like having a full day of lessons in sixth form but worse.
27) The constant reminder of how good it will look on your CV keeps you going through the long hours.
28) The time comes to say goodbye and thank you; this moment always means more to you than the office workers and feels a little awkward.
29) There's a sad moment when you realise another intern will replace you come Monday.
30) A good human being would wish them well but really, you're just hoping the office doesn't like them more than they liked you.
So, what's the conclusion? Work experience can be hard and tiring but honestly is really worthwhile. Not only can it give you very useful skills but also allows you to meet some amazing people. If the worst comes to the worst and you hate it, at least it's only temporary!