Friday, February 4, 2011

How bad do you want it?

Today, I was the last one to leave the office at my internship because I was frantically doing some work to lighten the load for my boss. My eyes were slightly bloodshot, I'm quite sure that my eyeliner was smeared, and I had not eaten for over eight hours. Still, I toiled on because it was the least I could do to help, in anticipation of New York Fashion Week.

When I got home tonight, I decided to skip the Friday night parties for a quiet night (er, weekend) of rest. While browsing Fashionista, as I do every night, I was intrigued by the comments on the post, "Blair and Dan 'Intern' at W Mag on Gossip Girl and We Debunk the Myths."

Someone commented, "From my magazine experience, the dumbest interns come from the most top-ranked schools." In response, someone else commented, "Because they always feel they're too good to be doing lowly intern work."

In response to that, someone commented:
The truth is that being from a top school translates in to expectations of (at times impossible) excellence and the additional pressure/drive to do well. I could argue that interns from top schools are used to hard work, more so than everyone else, and perform better; however, I know better than to make a blanket-statement like you just did.
So, speaking from a limited personal viewpoint, I don't think Ivy League fashion interns à la Blair Waldorf and Dan Humphrey (or me, for that matter) are necessarily better interns than non-Ivy League students. You don't need a perfect SAT score to return shoes to Dior -- although a sense of direction would be helpful.

However, I do think there are a lot of high expectations when you go to a "good" school -- both from yourself and external influences. If I can write a 30-page paper on German philosophy, I can properly use the Xerox machine, right? Conversely, you also feel the pressure to prove that you're not just book smarts. What's the point of acing calculus if I miscount the fashion week invitations?

And then, in academic settings, you feel the pressure to prove that you can be book smart and fashion-savvy. It's a constantly nagging feeling of needing to prove yourself which I am all too familiar with. I want my professors to know I'm serious about school and I want my employers to know I'm serious about fashion.

I do know of fellow schoolmates who have quit fashion internships because they thought the tasks were "beneath them" -- but these same schoolmates have also quit non-fashion internships with better pay, such as in investment banking. They don't speak for everyone.

The rest of us are extremely grateful for our internships, and we don't mind staying later or doing extra work or fetching coffee, as long as we get to be there. For me, at least, internships keep me sane -- they're a productive break from academia.

Miss Couturable
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