March 4, 2004

The Daze Rant

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As a sophomore currently on the hunt for a summer internship, I find that more and more my conversations go like this: “So, do you know what you’re doing this summer?”

“Um, not yet, what about you?”

“Um..yeah, I think I’m getting a job at [enter large, prestigious Law/ Wall Street/ Entertainment Firm].”

“Oh, who did you know?”

Sophomore year is that special in between period for the summer internship rush. You can’t really swing working at a summer camp any more, but since you aren’t a college junior/senior, no one will hire you.

Lately it’s gotten a little ridiculous. While the above-thirty-degree weather and the promise of Spring Break should be making Cornell students happy, I’ve found that many of my friends have spent the afternoons inside, on hushed phone interviews, in covert conversations with parents, and networking like there is no tomorrow.

Everyone seems acutely aware that if they don’t get it together, someone else will. But Lying? Betrayal? Deceit? What if I were to tell you that I have friends who do not speak after going for the same job? Oh the drama.

It’s all about looking good on paper. Sure, I understand the competitive nature of Cornell students, I am one. I understand the pressure to come across as professionally as possible. But milking experience out of the lemonade stand you opened at age eight just because you “turned a profit” does not make you into a future stock broker. On the other hand, if you have experience from previous internships, you are what one of my friends calls “an internship snob” because you haven’t spent your past 10 summers as a camper/CIT/counselor at Camp Whatcha-ma-call-it. Why, throw in SAT scores and you have college applications all over again.

There are always those people who are there just to one-up you. They had their resumes ready in September and can recite Interview Guidelines in their sleep. But would you really want to be that person? I’ll bet you that they had to sell their souls to the devil.

I’m not saying I’m above it all, but maybe we all should take it down a notch. Let’s be honest, why all the fuss? You and I both know that in the end we are all going to end up at the same place: the photocopy machine. What, did you think they’d let you run the company by the end of the summer? You’ll be lucky if they let you near the water cooler. Because interns are meant for one thing, and one thing only: to provide “administrative support” at slave labor prices (and sometimes not at all).

What is all the gossiping, the undercutting, and the networking for? Sure, there’s the occasional diamond in the rough