10 things I learnt as an intern

Published: July 10, 2011

'Work smart' is rule number one when it comes to interning

At some companies ‘intern’ is just a word for ‘sastay mazdoor’ or cheap labour. So  interns, you should be glad if you’re given some decent work to do. Or else, you might have to go pick up pastries from the bakery for a newly promoted employee.

Here are a few facts I learned during my internship

1. The photocopier is your best friend.

2. Cafeteria food will always taste bland and yet there will be a mad dash for biryani every Friday.

3. While interning, nine to five will be the only time you will get to do your home work, assignments and quiz preparation.

4. The boss will ‘always’ notice you when you’re texting and ‘never’ when you’re working.

5. The stipend is just never enough to cover the food/transport costs.

6. The end of internship report will be a big pain in the derriere.

7. There is always an exceptionally cute 50-year-old uncle wearing suspenders and glasses on your floor with a food baby going into its seventh month.

8. Be punctual. Never have I appreciated the importance of being punctual but when I get up at 1 o’clock sharp for lunch and  5 o’clock to head home.

9. Look busy do nothing. Honing this super-useful skill helps you get appreciative looks from your boss even when all you’re doing is secretly typing a blog at your office computer!

10. I have found seating plays an important role in how you are treated. If you sit near the boss then viola! People will automatically take you for the new boss. But, if you have the sad misfortune of finding yourself wedged between two cubicles, then even the peon won’t hesitate to tell you to stay out of his way when he does his ‘work’.

Regardless of all the light-hearted talk, I actually enjoy interning. My next internship starts the coming Monday!

Sumbul Ateeq

Sumbul Ateeq

A business student at SZABIST who loves photography.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • uXuf

    Here is to hoping your new boss is smart enough to take this piece with a chuckle.Recommend

  • Sarmad Zia Murad

    Great article funny yet realistic this actually happens I know as I’m currently interning at Attock Refinary Limited Morgah Rawalpindi.Recommend

  • http://www.accidentallyhuman.com Sanya Shiraz

    I volunteered at AKU last year. Man, I totally understand what you’re going through. It was hell. It was fun, yet it was a hell lot of work. Recommend

  • kAz

    something tRue….Recommend

  • twilight

    ah…my internship gave me free transport and yummy food..but no time for assignments or ‘other’ work:)Recommend

  • Adnan Saeed

    Nice.This will help all the future iternies as they keep all this in thier mind,Recommend

  • http://deleted Adnan Saeed

    Nice…based on the reality and fact oof every internyRecommend

  • Fooz

    I must say.. your interning at the wrong company then..

    My interning experience was really good! and nothing like this…Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    Where did you intern? Another attempt to get some publicity. I think you should write for fail blog rather than Express?Recommend

  • Fatima

    Excellent effort, Sumbul Ateeq.Recommend

  • Mian Muhammad Junaid

    Great Work done Sumbul…Your mom will be really very proud of you…Thumbs up!!


  • Mastishhk

    @..Thanx for this wonderful piece of information !!Recommend

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05572618266983528501 tuba shah

    same happend to me when i was interning in hum tv’s music channel OYE…. they used to ask me to go and fill their thermos with bottles and the despensir was at the end of the floor, they asked me to copy pics from internet and to make fake budgets, nothing productive they gave me, and after 2 months they said me yew can go home we dont need yew, and all my saved pocket money was spent in food and fuel, i had a terrible experience thereRecommend

  • saher nasim

    thats sound so true ..i am the parctical doer of it as i face it all but still u enjiy n learn all from all these

    intership crap;D


  • Marium Ateeq

    A sense of humor like this will take you long ahead in life inshaAllah… Provided ur boss has the same too ….Recommend

  • http://djdurrani.blogspot.com Saad Durrani

    This is so true.Recommend

  • sumbul

    @ everyone who cant take a chuckle

    My mom has commented on my blog and she happens to have no issue with it :)
    If u want to read a serious topic might I suggest NOT reading the life and style page? Coz that’s usually where people write light hearted things you know. Just saying :)
    Learn to take a breather jeeez. Btw I never said I don’t like interning. I happen to mention I enjoy it AND learn too :)

  • http://myspace.com/taravadu kulamarva balakrishna

    Interne Subul, almost 56 years ago when I was an interne I learned they take your work
    so seriously all load of work is on you.The stipend you get is your Bakshish.Do you
    deserve a salary as a free student? I was given no time whatever for my ten point duty
    set you identified.
    –Kulamarva BalakrishnaRecommend

  • Maqbool

    Nice blog….. but please confirm spellings before using french words to make your writing look more chic.Recommend

  • Ahmad M. Qamar

    Not to mention the lustful glances that men cast on female interns…..Recommend

  • Mastishhk

    @Sarmad Zia Murad….Thanx for this wonderful piece of information !!Recommend

  • Syed Arsalan Masood

    Very well written Sumbul, i really liked the way you have added humour:)Recommend

  • Aizah Obaid

    Goodluck getting a job in your next internship..just hope they don’t read thisRecommend


    i have been intern with telenor and they really utilize their interns. one of the most professional organization in pakistan. i miss my internship days there :)Recommend

  • Saman

    I read online novels, articles to keep my self busy when there is no ‘work’….its the best way to look busy without getting yourself bored to deathRecommend

  • Hasan

    OMG OMG OMG!!!! Sumbulll i totally get you … I have been interning for the last two months and it is exactly how you put it… DOnt worry we’ll get through this by hook or by the crook.. Keep smilling and working hard like always. Keep Writing Much Love Hasan!Recommend

  • OZ

    i m currently doing intern at askari bank and i m enjoying alot…there is nothing for me to do.. all i have to do is just get myself busy in any kind of stuff……so i’m enjoy’n it .. :)Recommend

  • Misbah

    Alright, it’s nice to see that you realy learnt something :)Recommend

  • Misbah

    and how about the farewell party? you never mentioned that… :(Recommend

  • VZFT

    On my first day at internship my boss sent me to collect IP addresses of all the PC’s on the floor. Had to goto each individual PC’s to fetch em – I was lucky that photocopier wasnt functioning during my time at office. Recommend

  • Ruqayya

    Nice experience u shared :) Ok, im having a bit hard time digesting that my internship has been arranged at Beaconhouse Alevel campus, although im doing my BBA. my internship starts in a few days, im NOT sure if thats a good internship since ive JUST done my semester 1. But luckily my friend has got in mobilink and i feel left out.
    u might suggest me some tips if im taking a positive approach in this matter on not.Recommend

  • Ruqayya

    Can u please guide me what was ur applying procedure in Telenor? i’d appreciate if u guide. :)Recommend

  • Ruqayya

    how to apply for internships? Recommend

  • Ruqayya

    how did u apply at askari bank/?Recommend

  • Anam

    This is very true. Especially the fact about texting.
    Also another thing I learn’t as an intern was that the person actually in charge of you hardly gives you any work while some other random officers hand you their own stacks of papers to put in order. Recommend

  • Hira Azhar

    Very well written Sumbul Ateeq and all of this actually stands true!!Recommend

  • Ali

    Hahahaha great article with fun. Thank you for telling your life experience as a internee this will helps us when we join as a internee Recommend

  • http://arslan-poetry-blog.blogspot.com/ Arslan

    An internship where you actually do work (which is relevant to your field and interest) is hard to come by, and when it does come by, my experience says that they will work your butt off!

    BUT if its something good, interesting, and has future prospect, then i suggest that one should pour all his effort into it, for it will benefit him in the future….Recommend

  • Fahmid Farooq

    i agree that this is exactly what happens…. and the worst thing is that if you opt for engineer as your career then you get internship in an industry that is very far from your house… it will take around one and half an hour to travel from your place to the workplace!!!!Recommend

  • Hussam

    I’m surprised you managed to learn 10 things at your internship. Most internships are like that unfortunately.

    We always make sure not to do this with the internees at Warid, which is the organization I work at. Internees are always made to do relevant and useful work.Recommend

  • Seema

    Haha.. Some parts are so totally true. I am reading blogs and replying to them from my office where I am currently interning :D
    I am done with all the work that I could possibly do. And I am all free right now. Somebody please suggest what should one do when he has no office or university assignments to make? Even facebook and twitter do not work here :( Recommend

  • sumbul


    haha read up on something! i always have a book or my ipod on me for times like these!

    btw, im replying from my intrernship too ALTHOUGH i have work to do :DRecommend

  • MKH

    That’s what actually i am doing right now.. reading articles, blogs and news while interning :DRecommend

  • Ahmad

    1,5 and 9 are always true, but she missed out, the internship will teach you hwo to make a good cup of tea/coffee, and look busy when waiting for someone to have the time to tell you what to do.Recommend

  • Umair Ali

    I somewhat agree with your article that interns are being used as cheap labor at some organizations where they have to do all tedious work but for what i have experienced is totally different. In all my internships i have been involved in some projects or any kind of professional work.
    Its all about the organization you are interning at, so its an advice to always select an organization which has proper summer internship program, its better if you find project based internship and if you are an MBA student, internships do help at the time of your recruitment. So take it seriously!

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    I interned at ENGRO and the only thing which mattered there was how you could suck upto your bosses. A fail company ENGRO.Recommend

  • Zara Zahid

    haha i enjoyed reading it. sarcastic yet true :)Recommend

  • Yumna

    Sumbullll, blog shlog. mashAllahh =P

    haha, I really enjoyed reading this. My previous internship was the SAME, just as you described it. But Alhamdulillah the one I’m doing currently is beyond amazing, I actually feel like an employee there and dread the time when my internship will end.so yayy. =DRecommend

  • Sarmad Zia Murad

    ur welcome but i can’t see how the infromation i gave could be helpful to youRecommend

  • sumbul


    i dont get the point of you thanking either!Recommend

  • Mastishhk

    @ Sumbul….Nice Blog Sumbul…The “Thank U ) was for Sarmad Zia Murad….Just who is interested in where he works ??????

    @ Sarmad Zia Murad..Sorry Dear, the idea is not to make fun of you …but i think the info was pointless !!!Recommend

  • sumbul
  • Sarmad Zia Murad

    Lol i know no one cares but i have no idea why u pinpointed me while there are many other posts which have taken names of the organizations where they work.Recommend

  • Bilal

    The bigger the organisation, less important interns are. But I have been lucky, I have done 2 internships at Colgate Palmolive and GSK. Both went gr8. Actually it depends alot on ur boss and also being Proactive helps. Actually you have to get after your boss to get the work. If you seem okay with the current work, your boss will never give u productive work.
    Companies usually hire interns as a formality or for a specific project One of my friends, working in Meatone is working on a real project like the employees.
    So interning at a smaller company is good but the problem is we always try to go for big MNC’s which do not even care about our presence. so next time u choose a company choose wisely and if u r not satisfied, do talk to your boss.Recommend

  • Areesha Bilal

    Hahah xD This list will come in handy for me when I do my internship!Recommend

  • MHJ

    LBDN skill iz really awesome. I m using this since two n half year and have to use for few months more.Recommend

  • http://www.linkedin.com/company/sociality-360 Babar Khan Javed

    I do hope that someday you get a shot at GlaxoSmithKline; of the 7 corporations I’ve been at (4 internships, 3 jobs), I’ve never treated with as high regard, respect and value as GSK Pakistan granted. Good luck on the current one :)Recommend

  • pardesi

    Always keep your distance from Bill Clinton.Recommend