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Working it: Demystifying the world of college internships

Photo: Art by James Heimer, License: N/A

Art by James Heimer

Photo: , License: N/A

Orlando Magazine
Editorial intern, January to April 2012

College credit: Optional
Paid: No
Hours: Two days per week

I didn't do as much with them because they're sort of a bigger magazine. I did a lot of copy editing, and I did a lot of fact checking and a lot of stuff for the Web. I did write three pieces for them.
It was the last place I could intern locally, so when it ended, it was time to take things to the next level – New York.

Marie Claire
Fashion editor assistant intern, May to July 2012

College credit: Required, received three credit hours
Paid: No
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or later

I sent out about 52 packets to anywhere I could think of, anyone's name and any email addresses I could get a hold of. I spent hours and hours and hours researching online during Christmas break, and in January, I sent the packets out.
I ended up hearing back from about 13 publications, but Marie Claire [in New York City] was actually the first interview. It was about a 30-minute phone interview, and she let me know on the spot that I had it. I accepted right away because I didn't want to risk shopping around. I just felt lucky I got it in the first place.
It's funny, it is a little Devil Wears Prada. I do a lot of coffee runs. I do a lot of personal things sometimes. [She'll] be like, 'Go pick up my dog, go get my dry cleaning.' I mean, I do some of that, but it's only because they have so much work to do that they don't have time to do it themselves.

Victor Sverdlin
Junior at University of Central Florida
Major: Digital media
Extra credit: Sverdlin is the owner of Victory Computer Systems

E2i Creative Studio
Design and math consultant intern, May through August 2012

College credit: Three credit hours
Paid: No
Hours: Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.

Internships, in my opinion, fall into two categories: the skilled internship and the body internship.
The body internship is just like it sounds: Companies will take on interns, and they'll sit around and do nothing – or if they are doing something they're running coffee or working in the mail room or doing anything that's not important.
Then there's the skilled internships, and these are internships where companies will take a student on, and they will train the student, like when I took on interns for my computer company. I would train my students on network installation, maintenance and IT sales, and several of those interns I later hired.
I myself have been to body internships, where all I would do was sit in the corner and browse Facebook, and I have also been to internships where they use my expertise to no end. They'll run me ragged, but it's still a body internship because an intern should get something out of where they're interning. That's where a skilled internship comes in, and that's just my opinion from both sides of the fence.
E2i is clearly a skilled internship, from my experience. It is an excellent internship program.

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