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That intern: The Ivy League intern

Jenna Johnson

Every intern class has so many personalities that they could fill a "Real World" cast. And every class has "That Intern" -- as in, "Don't be that intern." Each day I introduce you to one of those interns.

(I have received tons of requests for this intern. Special thanks to Rachel S. Fauber and Steven Overly for their help writing.)

The Ivy League intern enjoys being overly modest about attending an elite institution. On the first day another intern from a lesser institution innocently asks: "Where do you go to school?" The Ivy intern replies something along the lines of: "Oh, a school in Massachusetts." That forces the other intern to ask an awkward follow-up question -- "What school in Massachusetts?" Finally the more elite of the two interns offers up "Harvard." (Or insert another state and "Yale" or "Princeton" or any other Ivy.)

During this entire conversation, the Ivy intern is wearing Brown cuff links or a crimson tie spotted with H's. Seconds later that intern hands out a self-produced business card with the name of the college in all caps. Yeah, really modest.

From that point, that intern seems determined to prove to fellow interns that Ivies are no different than their public school brethren -- and in the process comes across as completely patronizing. Meanwhile, the non-Ivy interns spend most of the summer jealously listing off reasons why their schools are clearly superior, occasionally bending the truth ever so slightly.

Want to help me stereotype over-worked, under-appreciated, misunderstood interns? Shoot me an e-mail.

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

By Jenna Johnson  |  July 29, 2010; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Interns  | Tags: That Intern  
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Next: Bashing on D.C. interns, Lady Gaga-style

Comments

Jenna, Princeton is in New Jersey. Just saying...

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | July 30, 2010 5:13 AM | Report abuse

And Yale is in Connecticut. I guess you didn't major in geography.

Posted by: JeremyInFairfax | July 30, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I'll throw caution to the wind and guess that you were not admitted to an Ivy League university.

Posted by: dcheretic1 | July 30, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I thought it would be clear that Massachusetts went with the first example, Harvard. But I will go in and change the wording to make it crystal, crystal clear for you guys.

Posted by: Jenna Johnson | July 30, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The proper etiquette for an Ivy Leaguer in that situation is to reply directly to the "where do you go to college" question.

After that, you don't mention it again unless somebody else brings it up first.

And you certainly don't wear Ivy gear or hand out fake "business" cards in the workplace! Clearly the orientation weeks at some of the Ivies need tweaking.

Posted by: corco02az | July 30, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

There's some cause for the Ivy Leaguer's hesitation in answering the 'where do you go to school' question. As an illustration, my group of girlfriends did an experiment on spring break in Florida our senior year (as scientific as you can get in a bar): When asked where we went to school, we alternated between saying Harvard and UMass. Result? 100% of the time, if we said Harvard, the conversation ended within the next 5 minutes. If we said UMass, that was only 20% of the time, and the other 80% the guy asked to buy us a drink, dance or get an email address. So there's some justifiable hesitation in throwing the Ivy into the conversational mix, and sometimes it becomes a reflex to duck the question if you can...

Posted by: mc2c | July 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Only you ninnies in the Northeast worship the Ivy League. There are great schools and supremely intelligent, effective, hard-working people all over the country. An Ivy background usually gives you pretension and condescension, not a superior education

Posted by: dan1138 | July 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Coming from the west, I found the Ivy leaguers bigoted and self absorbed. Classism in the truest sense of the world. The ethics of the masters of the universe , Ivy leaguers, show that only number really truly matters. They steal the reputations of the best of themselves.

Posted by: citizen625 | July 30, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

During two post-grad programs, I taught undergraduates both at the University of Arizona and at an elite Ivy in the northeast. Wow--after half a semester I could tell you which bunch were more fun to teach! The UA kids were more laid-back, while still staying engaged with the material, and generally more open. I bet there would've been social differences as well (not my place to go there as a TA, obviously). I'm proud of my Ivy experience and of the kids I taught...but really, there's a difference. Just saying.

Posted by: __M__ | July 30, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

You can always tell a Harvard man. But you cannot tell him much.

Posted by: axolotl | July 30, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I used to evade answering the question about my college. The typical response was either just silence or a reply of "oh, you must be smart." Some of the stereotypes espoused here show how a lot of people react. Just wanted to avoid the whole subject.

Later, I decided that the approach described by corco02az is best. Answer directly and then never mention it again.

Posted by: jkh1970 | July 30, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

This is just stupid. I hope Jenna Johnson is unpaid. Who cares about this juvenile babble?

Posted by: Quizzical | July 30, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Most of these schools are less impressive than their attendees would think they are. Wealth does not reflect quality. This is more true of people than institutions, but the egoistic puffery that goes with the institutions is a well known flaw in their results. Sadly, it's never likely to be fixed, because stupid people stupidly enjoy unrealistic elitism.

Posted by: Nymous | July 31, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

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