Heres an article I wrote about 30mins ago on my "personal opinion" on how to survive an unpaid internship, especially in a differenent state and city. Enjoy! Follow @Trillone1
Well here I am, going into my 3rd year of college, thinking about where, when and how to apply to all these different companies for an internship. As Im plundering the deep pages of Googleís search engine I begin to think "How will I survive with no money in a different city?" After reading several articles (which was actually a few, strange how there arenít that many articles) I came up with my own ideas.
How to survive an unpaid internship?
My goal is to go somewhere more realistic, like Atlanta, GA. I lived there for some years and know my way around it to a degree, plus itís only approximately 4.5 hours away from where I live now, Tallahassee, Fl. Now hereís the thing, I've got a great paying job here and a pretty nice car to get me where I need to go. But taking this internship will shift some things around a bit. I'll have to give up my job that may or may not be available when I return, I'll have to find some cheap housing in Atlanta and save up enough money so I can survive for a few months. The majority of internships last about 6 months, meaning the entire fall semester. So I would have to save up during the year and summer before I actually embark on my internship (if i get it) the following year.
Cool, im here, I start in a week. I have all my clothes, and stuff I need to function. During this week I need to get familiar with surroundings, get bulk food from stores and anything else I can possibly think of. Possibly a small toolkit since cheap housing does have issues. Sit down and write out my financial statements, how much rent per month, how much to spend on food, gas etc. Bring COMFORTABLE shoes and be in shape! Once that is complete, look for niche jobs that I can do, even if I have to go door to door. $10-$20 is better than nothing at all, right?
Week 1, show up early, clean and ready to work. Most likely they will throw 20things at you at once to see if you can keep up. Start off being shown how to answer phones and input messages, take out trash and organize the closets, sweep the floor and etc, you know the rest. Then after all of that you may be asked to sit in on a session with the engineer and his client. Take NOTES, but donít ask questions. This is a learning experience yes, but it is the engineers session. Any questions should be fit for after the session and you've broken down the equipment.
Back to the living experiences. You should have bought some items in bulk, in which you can make several varieties of meals out of beans or chicken. Ramen noodles arenít healthy but neither is anything else you can afford to eat at this time. So go ahead and spend like $5 on 10 packs of noodles. Try not to call your parents for money when it gets tight, this is the real world, this is your life. Your rent should include electricity so you can keep that low by using shades/blinds open for sunlight. You donít need a TV, you will never watch it. You should have a personal computer so you can watch shows on it. Wash your clothes all at one time. If you have a car (which you should) you donít have to drive it all the time. Walk around enjoy the city views and learn the bus routes, it will save you gas money and help you get familiar with the city.
What else? Well if you have a really cheap run down apartment chances are the maintenance man wonít come when you call. Remember the tool kit? Use it. If you donít know what your doing Google it or just wait. But some things you will be able to fix on your own. Going out is fun with the new people you just met, but remember you on a budget, so yea go out to the bar or restaurant with them, but you donít have to buy anything. If you must plan it so itís now a regular thing, like maybe once a month.\
Things will go bad, something may happen you werenít expecting. Itís only natural, keep cool and evaluate the situation. Make the correct calls and you will be through it before you know it.
Week 2. While there you may be asked to do things that you may feel have nothing to do with your intended "major." Such as promotion work instead of production. All of this is needed in order to be successful, you must understand it all not just bits and pieces. Take it all in and for the most part have fun. They know you donít "like" to clean bathrooms or answer phones but at least act like you do. They know that that smile you put on when you first walk in may not be sincere. Learn to be faster than your "opponent." If they asked is something done you should say yes...to everything. That will grab their attention and see that youíre serious and get things done efficiently then quickly. This will give you more time to learn from the engineer.
Now your car breaks down (told you to ride the bus) what to do? Call mom and dad? NO. Get on your computer and search for the cheapest and most efficient store to fix it. Call your insurance to see if they will cover it. If itís a battery, then you can buy one at AutoZone or even Wal-Mart and put it in yourself. No Biggie. Best thing is to remain calm and asses the situation.
Week 3. Letís say for some odd reason they let you off this week due to a must needed studio renovation. Well now is the time to get out and network with people doing what youíre doing. Go to open mic places, have your material ready to hand out. Speak to people, collect phone numbers and emails. NETWORK!
Now we have reached the conclusion, i hope this has helped some of you, as it has me. Please note that this "scene" has not actually happened and that this is a reenactment I made in my own mind of what "should and most likely will" happen. lol So best of luck to all applicants and competitors...let the games begin...
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