Suits and Spending- The Highs and Lows of Interning

The glamour. The lifestyle. The mediocre wage. The 9am starts.

Such are the highs and lows of the summer internship.

If you’re familiar with the TV programme Suits, I often imagine myself walking into the office feeling like this guy.


And thinking that I suit a suit as well as this.


You’re looking at the tiny glimpse of cleavage, rather than the suit, aren’t you? Anyway, my point is, I usually turn up looking like this.

Tired, rushed, borderline late, having walked for 20 minutes at the speed of light whilst eating breakfast (the bus seems an unnecessary extravagance)… There’s only so much hairspray can help you with that one.

Being an intern, at least in my experience, has its highs and lows. This is the only stage of your life when you’ll accept unimpressive pay (if any at all) for a lot of hard work, during your so-called summer holiday, with a fair bit of responsibility to boot.

And yet it beats working behind a bar. The Wife works behind a bar. And in front of it. And she’s truly excellent at bartending, waitressing and dealing with angry drunks (I never said it was a classy joint). Sometimes all at the same time. Columbo works in a hospital. Same deal, but add bed-making to the equation and replace the drunkenness for senile dementia. Mutley works in a bank. Apparently people with money can be a total pain in the arse too. And Chunk works for free. Sucks to be him*.

My point is, in comparison I have a pretty cushy 9 to 5 job. I now have just four weeks to build a database for the European Research and Grants Office and incorporate this and another database I’ve built for the International Relations Office into a pretty mahusive report. But no sweat. Nothing too unpleasant can happen from behind a desk.

Or can it?

Introducing: The Non-Inclusive Guide to the Highs and Lows of Interning

High: I can still maintain some level of student-worthy social life. Even if I do have to call it a night by 11pm and at pint no.3.

Low: If I seem, for some perfectly innocent reason, tired and feeling less than 100%, I am automatically assumed to be hungover. Because I am a student intern.

High: My boss is awesome. I apologised for being late during my first week and her response was, “Oh please, this isn’t a factory. If you come in at 9, 5 past, 10 past… It’s all the same to me.” Score, much?

Low: Other, non-intern types always make me feel bad about leaving bang on 5. They seem to be programmed until at least 6…

High: Excessive coffee-drinking is accepted, nay, encouraged.

Low: One day, I was concentrating pretty hard on my screen and took an absent-minded gulp of coffee. Not only was it cold, but I’d somehow got seemingly all the dregs in my cup. And then my mouth.

High: I work right around the corner from probably the best sandwich shop in the world***.

Low: I only get half an hour to savour demolish one of the best sandwiches in the world.

Highs and lows aside, I’m pretty damn chuffed with my summer employment. It’s a major step up from washing pots in a chippy, selling bread in the market and cleaning fridges in a bakery. I will be proud to put it on my CV. And when I finish the project and report, I will hand it over like a newborn to its mother. And maybe run before she has a chance to look at it too closely.

I am, most importantly of all, being paid for something I am so far enjoying doing. And as I’ve said before, the whole idea of getting a paid internship this summer was to fund my year abroad, ensuring I can do lots of new and exciting things. Shame I spent my first paycheck on half a holiday, a novelty mug and a curry jacket potato.

*I should add that Chunk is in fact taking on one of those aforementioned voluntary internships. He gets to do lots of exciting things with chemicals. Sounds a blast**. Hopefully it isn’t, or he probably did something wrong.

**The Chemistry Department actually did literally go up in smoke earlier this year. It has since been replaced with a shiny new one.

***Thanks to “itspaulkelly” for this shot.


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