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Bittersweet Feelings About This Internship

, , , , | Learning | February 19, 2020

(In my studies for a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, the full last year is an internship. Half of this is working as a regular employee; the other half should be spent on a kind of graduation project. Lucky me, I need to find a place at the height of the financial crisis. I do manage to find a place with some delays, but as time goes by, it turns out to be an unpleasant place to work. The manager has zero motivation, I get a “trainer” who joined the company after me so he also doesn’t know how things work, there is a lot backstabbing and gossiping amongst coworkers, a coworker who sits next to me refuses to learn my simple name — like John, Jim, Jerry, Jeff, but never James — etc. As the half-year point draws near there is a day where everyone gives a short report at school and has a little chat with their mentor. As we’re discussing my progress, I explain that I feel really unpleasant doing my internship there, but at the same time, I know that spots are scarce, finding a new one would be more difficult for just half a year and only a project, oh, and since I flunked out of an earlier education, my government funding is already being cut short so any delays will cost me. I end up crying.)

Mentor: “Are you sure you want to continue your internship there?”

Me: “I do think it’s my best option.”

Mentor: “You’re not planning to stay out of some undeserved sense of loyalty?”

Me: “Oh, h*** no! If I arrive tomorrow and the place is on fire, I’ll take a stick and start roasting marshmallows!”

Mentor: “Woah! Okay, you don’t want to do that. Seriously, that’s a terrible idea.”

Me: “Sorry, I was being hyperbo–“

Mentor: “All that sugar will ruin your teeth!”

(That little joke derailed my depressive spiral and we were able to set up a plan. I stayed at the company with clear agreements on both sides. I got a barely passing grade but managed to graduate in time.)