How to survive an office internship

(Also applicable to an intense study sesh)

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Most Cambridge students will at some point find themselves in an office internship. Even if you land the perfect position – an office full of deeply inspiring individuals in the industry of your dreams, it’s almost inevitable that at some point you will be stuck doing a task that is mind-numbingly dull. Here are some tips to help you through.

Let’s start with the basics: snacks. Crunchy stuff, or anything that makes any noise is a no-no. Same goes for chocolate. After a while you start to feel sick, plus it’s super melty and might therefore get all over the Very Important Papers with which you are undoubtedly dealing (i.e. ferrying to and from the photocopier). Grapes are great, because they’re satisfyingly crisp without being noisy, sweet so you get that slight sugar rush, and you can eat lots and lots before you begin to feel queasy.

Coffee is a sneaky B but grapes are great

If you’re not about that snacking life (a strange way to be, but that’s your prerogative) then drinks are the way to go. Water, obviously – office air conditioning is incredibly dehydrating. Some kind of hot drink is nice when the A/C is up so high it is miraculously colder inside than out. Coffee is dangerous. On the one hand, a couple of cups might act well as a pick-me-up, but as the afternoon wears on and you’ve gone through mug after mug the heart palpitations and jitteriness and dizzy spells will start to set in and you will be worse off than you were to begin with.

Hiding from the photocopier like

There are other ways to stay awake. If you’re doing a repetitive but non-brain engaging task, podcasts can really help. If you want to be disgustingly productive you can listen to your set texts on audiobook or some educational stuff, but I prefer things like ‘Monocycle’ or ‘2 Dope Queens’ or ‘My Dad Wrote A Porno’. Obviously music is great too, but I find that if it’s too chill or repetitive I start to get sleepy and if it’s too upbeat the inevitable restlessness that comes from being stuck behind a desk all day becomes uncomfortably intense.

The way that I deal with this urge to jiggle or shout or jump up and down is to go to the loo and have a mini dance party with myself. I wouldn’t recommend doing it too often, or people will think you’re having stomach troubles, but once in a while to dash into the cubicle and let loose to Dolly Parton’s ‘Nine to Five’ is a real release.

Another way to brighten up the day is with your outfit choices. I feel so much better when, catching my reflection in one of the office’s many mirrored surfaces, I see not a grey suited clone but someone with a bit of character. This can come through the simplest things – a little print-clash here, a gentle texture-play there. If you literally have to wear a uniform, then wear something pretty underneath that no one else can see.

Apparently that’s something we Cambridge students are particularly good at.