Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

To Get a Great Summer Internship - First Find Your Niche

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

To Get a Great Summer Internship - First Find Your Niche

Article excerpt

I got tired of being expendable. That's the main reason I switched from a string of exploitative, underpaying jobs to a great internship at a fast-growing public relations firm. Let me explain.

After finishing my first year at American University in Washington, I decided to work at a restaurant on the boardwalk in south New Jersey. I assumed that the work would be interesting and that I could make good money close to the beach. Soon I found myself working 14-hour days and splitting my tips with four different people. The boss enjoyed screaming at everybody and intimidated teenagers with the not-too-veiled threat of physical violence.

Finally, he invented a pretense to fire me - a day before payday. I got a somewhat better job at a fish store, but couldn't get time off after injuring myself in a bicycle accident. I vowed to make the next summer better.

After last summer I realized that college students are ripe for abuse. Many of my friends and acquaintances also endured terrible working conditions in order to make money for school expenses. The intense competition students face for just a few well-paying, seasonal jobs makes them expendable. I was determined to make myself indispensable.

Just days before returning to college, I realized that I was interested in public relations. After receiving a tip from a friend, I called Tattar Cutler LD&B Public Relations, one of the top five firms in the Philadelphia region where my home is. The firm's vice president invited me to spend two days observing and handling assignments. I dressed well, and enthusiastically completed every assignment given to me. After working hard for two days, I was offered a paid internship over Christmas and spring break. I'm now working there during the summer as an intern doing account executive work. My experience has convinced me that all college students should get a summer internship. …

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