The Perks of Being an Intern.

Published on September 20th, 2011

By Janaé Martin

Summer may seem far away, but the deadlines for a lot of summer internships are coming up next month. In all likelihood, you’ve gotten your full dose of recruiters and career advisors who like to throw around the terms “opportunity to network,” “entryway into the field,” and “an experience to put on your resume.”

An internship is a awesome way to meet professionals in your field who are willing to give you advice and mention your name to “a friend of a friend” who might just happen to have a wonderful opportunity for an ambitious college student.

However, as your friends are planning trips to the beach while you’re anticipating a summer of answering phone calls from a cubicle, all of that resume-building business might not seem so valuable anymore.

Believe it or not internships can be fun too. As we all know, interns aren’t exactly bring in the dough, but sometimes, there is access to exclusive events, behind-the-scenes activities, and office giveaways.

For example, unpaid interns at Agenda Magazine in Beijing, China enjoy free rock concert tickets, wine tastings, and company parties.

Noelle Jones, a junior print journalism major at Howard University, spent the summer interning at the Essence Magazine offices located in New York City. Besides the normal duties of a magazine intern (writing, editing, and research), Jones had the opportunity to attend budget meetings, where editors plan the upcoming issue. “We weren’t just in the office twiddling our thumbs,” said Jones.

Jones’ internship with one of Time Inc.’s magazines might just be the “best deal in New York.” In addition to receiving a pay check and free housing at Columbia University, Jones attended photo shoots, model calls, and other exclusive events sponsored by Essence and Time Inc.

Essence also has a strong presence in the fashion industry, allowing Jones to mingle with notables in the fashion industry like Tracee Ellis Ross and stylist June Ambrose. She also met recording artists Kelly Rowland and Brian McKnight, who both dropped by the magazine’s offices to say hello and talk about their new albums. Clearly, a celebrity visit is not an unusual phenomenon in the fast-paced environment of these magazine offices.

In addition to free ice cream and office giveaways, Jones also received issues of Time Inc.’s magazines (Essence, People’s and Life, just to name a few[SJ5] ) months before the official release date.

Of course, internships that wouldn’t quite be consider “glamorous”, also have their perks.

Mariah Isamah, a junior international business major, also at Howard, interned at WW Grainger, an industrial supply company, in Lake Forest, IL. Her job duties involved updating the training course curriculum and making it more relevant to the modern business world.

WW Grainger  is far from a fast-paced, high-style New York magazine, but being an intern there did provide Isamah with airfare to and from Illinois, a fully-furnished apartment, membership at a three-story health and fitness center, and they even covered her commuting expenses.

Isamah also had lunch with the  company’s CEO and visited the nearby city of Chicago. The highlight of her experience was when the company took the interns out to see a baseball game.

Noelle and Mariah are living proof that summer fun and career advancement don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, an internship can be the perfect way to spice up your summer social life.

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