THE TRUE VALUE OF A COLLEGE INTERNSHIP: THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE, OR THE MOST FORGETTABLE ?
(Copyright 2006 The Onion magazine. All rights reserved.)
BOSTON-University Of Maryland senior Dan Klein said Friday that his unpaid internship at Beacon Press Publishing was the "best experience of [his] life." He predicted that the long hours he spent filing, photocopying, and answering phones would eventually ensure him a position at the company when he graduates next spring
But the Monday morning after his last week in the office, nobody on the 17-person staff had any recollection of who Dan Klein was or what exactly he did there.
"We had an intern, of course, but I believe the name was Greg or Craig," said editor-in-chief Lynn Thaden, who walked by a smiling Klein every morning, and who had promised on two separate occasions to write him a "glowing" letter of recommendation. "He or she was getting ready for graduate studies." Klein, who said he planned to "jump right in" to the publishing field after graduating, worked at Beacon from early May until the end of August. Though only academically bound to a two-day work-week, he chose to take out extra loans and work full-time so he could put his "heart and soul" into the "tremendous opportunity."
"I think Dan was the one who ordered me the wrong dry-erase board," said managing editor Michael Breen, who didn't seem to recall that he and Klein spoke briefly in the breakroom about how they went to rival high schools.
"Is that who that 'Good Luck' card was for?" Breen added.
"To work here at Beacon, in a field I have always dreamed about getting into, and to have such a natural rapport with everyone, was amazing," said Klein, who, according to staff members, was either an Asian male who always ate turkey sandwiches, or an African-American female who was "really interested in helping the poor or something."
Even receptionist Tracy Wigfield, with whom Klein had once had an extended, heartfelt conversation about the importance of family, couldn't recall anyone named Dan Klein ever having come through the office's front door.
"The summer is a tough time around here," Wigfield said. "People are always in and out of the office, and with Memorial Day and our two-week summer break, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between interns and delivery people."
"Sean? Sean. No. Peter?" Wigfield added.
Klein said he came into the office on holidays to sort mail, delete unimportant voicemail messages, and work on the long-requested database of Beacon authors and vendors from 1896 to the present.
"Those are the types of things you have to do if you want to get recognized," said Klein, who, according to the Beacon editorial staff, is either going back to Notre Dame, Purdue, or East Boston High School. "And it felt good to do something for those folks. They're hard workers, and I know they appreciated what little I could do to help."
Klein said he planned to keep in touch with the Beacon staff throughout his senior year, saying that not only did he make important contacts for his career, but he has new lifelong friends. "Oh, yeah, the guy who knew computers," editor Mary Ferrell said. "Is he in today?"
© 2006 The Onion magazine. All rights reserved.