Best and Worst Internship stories

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Debra Fitzwater 10 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #86202

    Participant, a free service that helps college students find internships in DC, is looking for great intern stories (both nightmares and heroes). Have you experienced the intern (or internship) from hell? What are your pet peeves that interns seem to do regularly? How can an intern succeed? What about govt-sponsored social media interns — are there any yet? The idea is to collect a great list of Dos and Don’t for the thousands of college interns who will be coming to our city for the spring and summer. The responses will b compiled and posted on

  • #86218

    Debra Fitzwater
  • #86216


    Wow, shocking info. Thanks for the response.

  • #86214

    Amanda Blount

    WOW you have got to be kidding. As a parent of a 20 year old. I helped her at 15 get her first job, by paying for training, but since then it has been up to her to get what she can get in this life. I have only visited her at work just once, and only because she asked me to. Even my very shy son started his first job this summer; alone, without my help. A little bit of advice for those parents who do what you described, they are only showing their children they have no faith in the young adults obtaining a good job on their own. Crazy Folks.

  • #86212

    Debra Fitzwater

    Thanks for your reply, AB. I am not kidding but I wish I were. You made a great point, have faith that your kids can survive… after all, stumbles, from time to time, certainly builds character! Take care and have a great weekend.

  • #86210

    Krystal Coxon

    I had several internships in college and learned a great deal because my supervisors:

    – Asked me about my skills and what I was most interested in and assigned projects accordingly.
    – Took the time to teach me new things.
    – Assigned projects that resulted in products I could put in my portfolio.
    – Always had an open door for questions.


  • #86208

    Jim Reed

    I manage our city’s Web site, and more than once departments have assigned interns to work on the department’s sub-sites without telling me, let alone involving me in assessing the intern’s skills. One day I’ll just get a phone call that “so-and-so is our intern who is going to re-do our Web site, can I bring him by so you can show him how to do that?”

    And then there was the student from the digital media program at the university who really seemed to be lacking some basics of Web design. Even so, her enthusiasm for learning made her a delight to work with, but there was one rather exasperating day when she called me 10 times in six hours with questions.

  • #86206

    J. Jones

    My last internship was with a City that has a long history of hosting several, post-graduate interns and I have heard lots of great stories from the city administration as a result. In the position, you have a lot of freedom to work on various projects for multiple departments at a time. Due to the lite oversight, some interns took advantage of the situation. One would go out during the day to “meetings” or to “visit a site” and would play tennis. From what I understand he did this for several months. Another intern had come to the realization mid-way through the fellowship that he didn’t have much of a chance to stay on board with the City due to budget restraints. As a result, he decided to spend all of his free time, and most of his work time, looking for other employment. He brought his laptop to work and would hunt and apply for jobs all day long.

    While this certainly showcases bad interns, the internship supervisors are not blameless. If you allow this type of behavior, it will continue and the experience will be bad for both parties.

  • #86204

    Kristin Winn

    I have had seven interns in my 14 years in City management, and some were great, and some didn’t have a clue. I found as a manager I sometimes had to tailor the internship to the strengths of the intern. For instance, one intern was a non-traditional student (read older stay-at-home Mom) who had very few computer skills. I found out her writing skills were strong, however, and I gave her the assignment of writing and placing some feature stories about our City in trade publications. She went on to be hired as a reporter by our local newspaper where she does great feature stories for them.

    My most recent intern had to be told not to wear shorts and mini-shirts to the office. If you are an intern, take a look around at what others are wearing to work. Treat your internship as a job–come to work looking professional and you’ll be treated that way. If you work hard and an opening does come up, you’ll have left a good impression.

    Another area interns need to take seriously is their attitude. This is no longer school–this is a job. That’s why they call it work, and you’ll be expected to do some work. It may not be exactly what you had hoped to do, but refusing to do work because it doesn’t fit into your idea of your internship is not acceptable. Jump in and help others with their workload when you can. You’ll learn a lot that way.

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