Forum: Luke Seemann05.01.98
He wants to get by
with a little help from a friend

Serfs are out. So are piss boys. Interns, though, are most definitely in.

The typical intern is difficult to define. She has far fewer responsibilities than an employee, sometimes gets paid more than a volunteer and is a little better dressed than a toady.

Regardless, the internship has become an institution. Myself, I've had four and will enjoy my fifth this summer.

No longer are internships optional resume fodder. They are expected of us. Medill even requires its students to pay full tuition for a quarter for the privilege of having one.

Well, I'm sick of it. I've paid my dues, and I'm ready to be on the other end of the internship stick. I don't care if Cosmo Kramer thought of it first: I don't want an internship, I want an intern.

I file my life under "full and exciting," yet I find myself bogged down with mundane pursuits: washing clothes, making copies, writing home and so on.

Would you believe I'm 22 and still making my own coffee?

These are things that the right intern could be doing for me.

Amazingly, there is no program at Northwestern for students to get interns. I learned this by calling the NU Student Employment Program.

"I'm a senior and I would like an intern," I said.

"For the summer?" the woman on the other end asked.

"No, right now would be fine."

"You want an internship right now?"

"No, not an internship. An intern. You know, someone to help me out a bit."

"Oh," she said and politely gave me the 800 number for JobTrak, which employers use to list openings for college students.

So I propose that Medill should require its freshmen to intern for seniors. It's a win-win situation that solves two of NU's biggest problems: freshmen whining about not having any internships and seniors whining about not having any time.

No longer will students spend their summer pumping gas simply because a lack of so-called "experience" prevented them from finding a real job.

This is a chance for green freshmen to learn from the experience of their elders.

For instance, in the last few weeks, I've made four trips downtown to the Daley Center trying to retrieve the same documents. The first time was great. I learned many things, among them how to get to the Daley Center, how to request court files and what a Kafka-esque zoo the Daley Center is.

But by the second trip, it became tedious. And indeed, it was selfish of me to hog these experiences to myself. If I had an intern or three, we all could have shared in the glory that is investigative research.

Good internships are more than waiting in line and making coffee. That's why my interns will have the special opportunity to work on a substantive project during their internships. They can start by writing my English paper due next week.

What are the perks of interning for me, you ask?

You just answered your own question, I respond.

Though I cannot pay you, by the time you notice you're not having any fun anymore, you'll be a senior.

And then it will be time to get an intern of your own.

-Luke Seemann is a Medill senior. He can be reached at [email protected].

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