Tomorrow is my last day of work for the summer. It also marks the end of my second “real world” job. Side note: I was a full-time nanny for four kids the summer after my freshman year. It was both hard and rewarding, just not in the corporate world. All that to say I think it’s a fitting time to think out loud about intern life. A little questioning,
complaining venting and reflecting. Some serious, some light-hearted, as usual. Thanks, Amanda!
Thinking Out Loud: Intern Life
When will I feel like an adult?
At my current internship, many of the full-time employees are just 2-3 years older than me but seem so much older on the surface. When I graduate from college will I automatically snap into grown-up mode and not want to be with younger people? Is there a natural sense of maturity that comes when you’re out of college? Seriously, tell me.
Why do some offices not have windows?
My office is a cubicle in an office without windows in a larger office without windows. I’m someone who needs the sun (or at least to see the sky) so being confined in a small, quiet space is not my ideal environment.
Can I go back to college now?
Man, college life is awesome. Even though you read about college bloggers saying life is SO busy (I’m guilty at times), it’s really not in the scheme of things. It’s just the right amount of busy that doesn’t make you go crazy and still leaves free time. Maybe I should have been a 5th year senior instead of graduating early? Adjusting to 9-5 (or earlier and later depending on the day) takes time. Especially when there isn’t any sign of life outside (see above about windows).
When will yoga pants become acceptable office attire?
I mean, we might have a woman president soon, when will we get over business suits? I need a job that will let me wear Lululemon all day, everyday.
When will I be done “paying my dues”?
I’m well aware that two years is no time in the real world, and I’m not even sure if internships count as part of those dues, but after doing a lot of monotonous work I want to move on to “real” responsibilities. Work that is mentally challenging and rewarding. I know the filing and scanning grunt work has to be done but when do I get to do less of that?
Do I have to enter the corporate world?
Short answer: No. Long answer: it’s probably more difficult to do something else right off the bat, especially considering the whole “paying dues” thing. I’m not even sure what I want to do, so I think we should start there.
My goal: find a job I love because work takes up a lot of time and energy
As much as I’d like to have an “easy” job, I need something that is mentally stimulating, challenging and within my realm of interests. I want to be passionate about my work. Internships are great because they give you a taste of the job without the longterm commitment. I’m lucky to have had this experience these last 8 weeks to test out the waters in a new-to-me field.
What I learned about the industry and myself this summer ended up being very worthwhile. I’m very happy I can escape back to the college bubble for a little longer, but I *think* I’ll be ready for the real world when it hits.
I did a one year internship before entering my final year and I enjoyed my final months of college so much more because of that experience. College life is pretty amazing and working full time for a year showed me just how amazing. :D And I agree with the whole “office with no windows” thing. For my next job interview when they say “do you have anything you want to ask us?” I am tempted to ask “is there a window (that can be opened) in the office?” :D It makes such a difference!
I think I will definitely enjoy this next semester more. Haha I’m so asking that question too! I think it’s better for my productivity to have a window too.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I definitely want to find something I love and wake-up at least somewhat excited to do everyday! And I agree with windows….how can you get anything done is fake lighting and in a cave!?
And haha….even though I live in workout/lounge clothes, I LOVE and have always wated a job where I could wear heels and suits! Love it!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Stress-Free Blog Maintenance
It was kind of fun to dress up at first but I look forward to changing into workout clothes at the end of the day :)
She Rocks Fitness says
Welp…getting a glimpse of the “real world” can be a rude awakening and makes you realize how awesome college is! My advice to you is ENJOY college as much as possible, because being adult although is fun, I would go back to college in a heartbeat and do ALL 4 years all over again…HAHA!
She Rocks Fitness recently posted…She ROCKS Boot Camp Workout
Haha you aren’t the only one to have said that! I have no doubt my better years are still to come but I will enjoy this last semester of “freedom.”
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
Can I go back to college now? Exactly how I am feeling right now. I am so ready to get back into the school routine! Sitting at a desk for 8 hours/ day is so not for me. I really do enjoy the routine of the school year and being able to walk outside between classes and have downtime throughout the day. Just a little over a month left!
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Fresh Mango Lime Salsa
Having a break in the day is such a treat! I love taking my laptop outside during the school year to work too.
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
Internships are great! I think they are a great way to get used to the “real world” while being able to go back to school after 3 months. I had three internships in college, and the last one offered me a full time job before my senior year started. It’s been a great place to work with a terrific work-life balance. I can wear jeans to work and work from home basically whenever I want. Even though the work isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, I can honestly say that I enjoy my job and my work team!
I understand about the not feeling like an adult thing when you’re an intern. As someone on the other side now, I can understand why they’re treated differently. You’re there for such a short period of time and it’s hard to fit in so much training and learning. Everyone else has been there for years and is accustomed to how things work and gets to know everyone in the office, so even though they’re only a little older than you I think it does make a difference! Hopefully that makes sense!
This was exactly what I needed to read! I’m hopeful that once I work full-time somewhere I will fit in with the other employees and culture. It’s good to hear about interns from the other perspective. Working from home part-time sounds wonderful, so happy for you! :)
Love this post. I think these are all really important questions to ask yourself as you get closer to graduation. I wish I had taken the opportunity to use my summers to intern in the “real world”, but instead I worked at the beach every summer through grad school (avoidance is a strong skill of mine) haha. My first job out of college was working for Nike Running. I thought it would be a job I loved (absolutely nothing that I went to school for) and it allowed me to wear workout clothes every day. I hated it. I never felt like I was being mentally challenged, and I really didn’t feel like I had a purpose on my team. I loved being able to run during lunch, wear workout clothes, and talk about my favorite thing – running. But the job wasn’t for me. I realized medicine and healthcare was my passion and running was a hobby. So I finally switched jobs and began working at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. Talk about no windows – hospitals have ZERO! It was a tough adjustment but it was an amazing feeling to use my brain all day every day. No job is perfect and I promise you your first one won’t be your dream job, but you learn something from each and every one.
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So interesting about your job at Nike, but I completely understand now. I never realized how important it was to me to have a job that was challenging until this summer. Glad you found your passion :)
Michele @ paleorunningmomma says
I think the employees that ignore interns do so out of immaturity and insecurity actually! So they are not really feeling like “adults” in my opinion, but maybe they’re trying to convince themselves they are. For the record, I’m 33 and do not yet feel like an adult. I sometimes feel “old”, but not like an adult. I think that’s the big secret, being a grown up does not feel like you imagine it will!
Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…The Other Side of Motivation – TOL
I saw a post on Instagram that said “being an adult is really just googling everything.” I tend to just figure things out as I go along so I’m hoping that continues through adulthood.
It stinks to have to do mundane chores/activities as an intern.. but it is all definitely worth it one you find a job you love :)
Liz recently posted…How do you Make Success Mandatory?
Exactly! At least that’s what I’m hoping :)
Sarah @pickyrunner says
I did several internships in college (and after college) and can honestly say it gets so much better. Maybe I just got really lucky at my company where everyone I work with is in their 20s, but I feel like even the interns are on the same playing field as us. I remember doing menial intern tasks and hating every second of it, wondering if that would be my life. It’s not. I don’t miss being in college *at all* (except maybe the summer part) and I do look forward to going to work. Of course, I am counting down the seconds until the weekends halfway through the week but it’s not always so bad. Good for you for trying something different though and realizing maybe that isn’t what you want!
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Part 3: No Place Like Home
I knew that a) you could relate and b) would have good advice. Thanks for figuring things out 2 years before me and then sharing your story ;)
Hayley @ Full of Life says
You are so right that the college lifestyle is taken for granted while you are in it. I WISH I could go back and appreciate the free time, homework instead of real life work assignments, etc. It’s always easier in hindsight though. I do love being out of college but I don’t think we ever feel like we have arrived at this mature adult place. Also, most people change careers/jobs so many times in their life so I think everyone needs to chill about finding the perfect job and just try things and do their best. I have had a couple jobs since college and still don’t feel like I have it all figured out (I probably never will!). That’s part of life and I want to always be trying new things and changing. PS I would totally sit with you at lunch if you were an intern at my company. :)
It’s reassuring to hear you (and others) say that people switch jobs a lot. I guess in my experience my dad has been with the same company for his entire career so it feels pretty permanent. I know that’s not the case and I have a feeling I will dabble in a few different companies/industries before I find one that clicks.
Niki @lifewithniki says
Sometimes it baffles me to think that one day I will no longer be in ‘school’ and my days will be spend working. There will be no more ‘bad grades’, and those types of notions will be replaced with ‘getting fired’ :P. It is incredibly scary to think about, however I think I will be ready ‘adult’ by then!
Niki @lifewithniki recently posted…Future Thoughts, Should I Become A Dietician?
I will be VERY glad to be done with tests and grades but not happy about the notion of getting fired. Now that is real life.
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions says
I think when you graduate from college, you’ll realize what an ENORMOUS difference there is between being in college and being in the “real world” full time. I’m not all that far removed from college (I graduated three years ago), but I feel like I’m in such a different place than just about anyone in college – not in a way of feeling better than them or more important, but more in a “your life’s priorities are not my life’s priorities” sort of way. The things that matter A LOT in college–papers, exams, studying, homework–go away for most people after college and are replaced by very different things: figuring out how to build and maintain a social life in the “real world,” where there aren’t 100 clubs and organizations of your peers you can join for free with no problem, dealing with things like insurance, retirement plans, etc. — it’s just so different from college. Doing internships is a great way to get experience, though, both in work styles and building skills. I would encourage you, though, to not get too caught up in the desire for a “perfect” job, because in my experience, such a thing doesn’t exist. No matter how amazing something sounds in a description, or even how awesome it feels for the first six months, year, etc., eventually the shiny newness rubs off. There will be aspects of every job you dislike, but as long as there are more aspects of that job that you DO like, I think you’re doing just fine :)
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions recently posted…Thursday Things
Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m glad things change, even if the change is hard. Sarah (picky runner) said to me that she likes her job 80% of the time and I think that would be ideal for me. You’re right, it’s never going to be perfect.
Boy, I have no idea when I will feel like a full adult. I sometimes feel like I am stuck between both worlds, but I do appreciate having a bit of ‘child-like wonder’, while getting to have the responsibilities and privileges of an adult.
Emily recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: ‘What Makes you Different.’
I think I’ll be in that in-between phase for a while. But it doesn’t seem too bad to have the best of both, right?
Amanda @ .running with spoons. says
I can very much relate to the feelings of wanting to go back to school. If I had my way, I think I’d stay in school forever and leave all this real world stuff to the adults :lol: And when it come to actually feeling like you’re all grown up, I’m 30 and still waiting for it to happen… so I can’t really help you out there. I do think, though, that most people look a lot more put together than they actually feel… so I wouldn’t worry about it too much :)
Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #140 .
I’m one of those people who “fakes it ’til I make it” so it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone :)
I just graduated college this spring, and while working part-time this summer, but planning on moving on the grad school, the ‘real world’ definitely is a drastically different experience. It’s dynamic — working longer hrs compared to college hourly classes with breaks in-between. But it’s really tough to leave the college town and atmosphere, primarily because it becomes your network and community for roughly 4 years. Moving on is hard; but I trust that there’s more out there for us all to explore. :)
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Dynamic is a great way to put it. I’m used to a set schedule in college but work is ever changing and the week can be unpredictable. I’ve never been one of those people to say “college is the best time of my life,” so I am excited for what’s to come :)
Can’t wait to see you tomorrow and would love to chat more about this. I had a bunch of internships that were all over the place in terms of culture and responsibility. Also that’s so lame that people don’t respect the interns. At my office our intern is AWESOME and I am going to be so sad when she’s gone. She’s basically my age and I try to treat everyone with the same respect but it sounds like those peeps are probably insecure because as a junior employee you feel like you have to compensate for your lack of experience sometimes. But yeah I wouldn’t mind going back to college some days
It must be kind of weird to be in your place and be “superior” to someone basically your age. I’ve tried to think about that in my situation, to play devil’s advocate.
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
Wow – a very insightful post! I think internships are different because you don’t have responsibility in the same way full employees do (not to negate the hard work I’m sure you did, but you are only there in the short term). I found I still had this feeling at my first job because there was a whole group of us that started as new hires. However, at my job now, there’s absolutely none of that since I was a solo experienced hire. I felt the same way as you did during my internship, but I promise it does change!
You definitely seem to have you head on straight – you want something you like but understand it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. My main advice is find something you generally like that allows you to do what you want outside of work. Even though at my first job there were days I hated it, I liked it overall and really appreciated being able to leave at 5 most days and being able to afford lots of travel without hardship.
Ok – and last thought – get somewhere with windows! It sounds so silly, but my office now has none, and it is very depressing!
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet recently posted…Guilt
Thank you so much for this comment. I’ve gotten a huge sense of relief reading that things get better. I feel the same way about being able to do things I like outside of work. Leaving by 5 everyday would be ideal.
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
I think my main real world realization is that I really, really want to find something I love. My job this summer is a really good opportunity, and I’m grateful for that and all my other opportunities, but I haven’t really enjoyed any of them. I’m also really grateful for the chance to try out different things before I actually decide.
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Liv @ Healthy Liv says
Wow, after reading everyone’s comments, I’m really determined to make the most out of the rest of my college experience! Entering the “real world” is definitely a scary thought and so is getting stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy. I’m glad you were able to figure out what type of work you don’t enjoy this summer through your internship so you can cross it off your list of potential careers!
Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Visiting Indonesia: Week 2
Kind of jealous that you have three years left ;) I know I won’t ever have to be stuck in a job forever, but starting work still feels more permanent than I’m used to.