I do not know how many people read the last post. Technically, it wasn’t mine, but it was about me. It was written by a very dear friend who described in the most loving manner, anecdotes from our school life. Coming to the last few weeks in my life, they were tense and intense, funny and enjoyable and the emotions varied from extreme sadness to that of immense happiness.
It is this uncertainty which makes it one hell of a journey. Each day I woke up having just a vague idea what I was supposed to do and awaiting the day’s events to unfold. Life of an intern is an experience in itself. Neither an employee nor a student, this hanging in the air status is a status in itself. No wonder there is a term for it which perhaps explains everything it encompasses.
You are not a part of the company. Everyone knows it. Everyone makes it a point to remind you regularly. The requests for files and data from senior people are preceded by the question “Who are you?” and the answer “Student Intern” generates a sudden wave of extreme laziness and infinite postponing of the data request. “Aah..I’ll give it you.” “When sir?” “Soon.”
Soon. The word is very confusing. It knows no limits, no bounds. Soon can be the next minute or the next couple of weeks. The boss’s soon is very different from the file giver’s soon and you are the one who is caught in the middle, balancing the time frames of the two soons. Being officially without a job and sitting in the office, you are subjected to free management tirades, scolding and are a regular vent of everyone’s frustration. You are asked to dig up files, measure temperatures at the AC ducts, asked help on how to edit a word document and also subjected to the all too familiar professor-like questions “Why are you late?” “When was the document asked?” “Why didn’t you ask so-and-so to give it earlier?” Any explanation for the last question is only cut short by a “Ask him baba…how will you ever learn to get work from people? How will you learn management?”
From the tea-wallahs to the librarian, everyone can be your boss. From the receptionist’s glares for reading the newspaper when she wants to or the canteen manager’s outburst on asking for breakfast at 9:01 am when the end time is 9:00, you get used to being used and abused by everyone. You get scolded for standing near someone’s car and even touching it accidentally during the lunch times and everyone who has his/her car in the parking lot nervously glances every two minutes to check if their vehicles have been mutilated beyond repair by a bunch of fresh college pass outs(almost).
Who says you don’t learn much? I do and infact have. I am the all-in-one. From the painter who colours cycle diagrams and flowsheets and excel cells to the editor who checks for grammar and spelling mistakes in operating manuals, to a person who diligently writes the minutes of a meeting where almost everyone is asleep and to a person who finally does a little bit of her project work, an intern is taught almost everything. From learning obsolete and latest softwares and debugging to painting, minesweeping, pinballing, googling and sleeping secretly in front of the comp in an alert position, internship is perhaps the most multi-faceted education one can hope to receive.
You suddenly appreciate the little stuff around you. You are glad that you have a working computer even if the BSOD(Blue screen of death) appears every hour. You suddenly punctuate your work with a regular Ctrl+S. You learn to act busy and most importantly pretend busy. You are suddenly content with having to stare at your computer screen and seem very interested in it. You learn to stay like a Buddha, meditate and bask in the glory of the AC and suddenly the system time at the taskbar seems like the most looked at on the screen. You begin to enjoy your time here, learn to multitask, alt+tab at amazing speeds and get used to life beyond internet. The few hours of internet access involve super fast wiki-ing, saving pages for later read and blogging (if the page manages to open in that time!)
Well, that is that. I am enjoying my internship at my place. Though I must say, it is not all that bad. I meet new people who are mostly polite, have gotten used to seeing fully and formally dressed folks (a sea change from the shorts and dirty tees and bathroom slippers and faded jeans), have gotten used to my independence beyond office and yes, even in office. Though I regularly crib and cry about my work and there are certain days I seriously wish I could lie on my bed all day, it’s a good preview of things to come. Though, I am sure, when I finally get working, I’ll miss being an intern. Just like how I miss being a student or I miss being a kid who could get away with everything.
That’s why I am really trying to live every minute here. Get scolded, bear the long talks, watched amusedly from an outsider’s view of the happenings in the company. After all, that ‘s why I am here!