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Strive to be the 'Penn State Intern'

Jenna Johnson

Every semester Penn State University students arrive in Washington for an internship -- and program coordinator Scott Colburn hands them a "do's and don'ts" guide to being successful.

Colburn passed along a PDF of the handout, titled "The Internship Experience," for me to share with you:


Since the start of the Penn State Washington Program we have discovered that while thousands of interns pass through the Washington area each year, the behavior and work habits of those interns varies very little. After years of careful observation, we have sorted all Washington interns into a few simple categories. We hope that through our research you will better grasp the Washington intern experience and become a more valuable asset to your organization this semester. Proceed with caution. Our findings may shock you.

The categories students do not want to fall into, according to the handout: the Slacker Intern ("Web history chronicles intern's frequent visits to Facebook and Perez Hilton"), the Entitled Intern ("Forgoes assigned tasks to continue work on document titled 'Topics of Conversation for Power Lunch with Obama' ") and the Timid Intern ("Fails to correct semester-long practice of being called by the wrong name").

Students should instead strive to be the "Penn State Intern" (keep reading for the description).


The Penn State intern serves as a beacon of hope in the realm of interndom. The Penn Stater is confident, helpful, professional, humble and opportunistic.

Common behaviors include the following:

  • Intern enthusiastically and diligently tackles all assignments in a timely fashion to demonstrate abilities and earn greater responsibility;

  • Realizing that all contacts are good contacts, intern becomes acquainted with all coworkers to better understand how different roles within the organization operate;

  • Intern takes every opportunity to participate office or internship program activities;

  • Intern rarely requests time off, but does so well in advance when it proves unavoidable;

  • Intern abides by office dress codes;

  • Intern thanks all coworkers at the internship's conclusion.
  • We have concluded that Penn State Interns are by far the most successful classification of Washington intern. Interns who exhibit qualities similar to the Penn State Intern will experience similar successes.

    Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all D.C. interns. So, make sure to bookmark You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

    By Jenna Johnson  |  June 30, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
    Categories:  D.C. Interns  | Tags: Internships, That Intern  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: College president's essay-writing advice
    Next: That intern: The vacation intern


    Penn State, Please add:
    Don't discuss PA sports. Phillie and Steeler fans are some of the most annoying (locals included).

    Posted by: smirkman | July 1, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

    oh my god this was lame

    Posted by: magnuson | July 1, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

    Interesting. I'd like to see the entire handout. Could you check the PDF link? It didn't work for me.

    Posted by: toms7 | July 1, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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