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The What-I-Did-This-Summer Translator

August 22, 2009

by The Forum
The What-I-Did-This-Summer Translator

Come September you'll give the obligatory "Hey, how was your summer?" to everyone you see the first week of school.  You'll hear stories of internships at the "World Peace & Malarky Organization" and of the freshman who single-handedly generated billions for Goldman Sachs. Yes, we all seem to stretch the truth about what we did during the summer.

Here is an abbreviated guide to understanding what your friends really did this summer.

1. "I interned for a financial services firm in Hong Kong/Thailand/Dubai/Mother Russia"

What he really means is, "I partied, traveled, hugged elephants, only drank vodka because the tap water wasn't infused with minerals, paraded around in madras shorts that screamed 'Rich American' as I wore a t-shirt that actually said 'Rich American' on it while I shouted 'Seriously, I am such a rich American!'  Oh, and I occasionally made copies of TPS reports for my dad's friend's shipping company."

2. "I stayed at home and studied for the LSATs/MCATs/GREs/GMATs"

"I got really, really good at playing Halo while naked, eating leftover casserole, chicken wings, and gogurt.  I also went to a Princeton Review class once a week... if I didn't oversleep."

3. "I worked in i-banking for <insert TARP company here>.  I worked 12 hours a day and sometimes hated my life, but I became an Excel and Powerpoint Queen and made some cash money"

This one's pretty accurate.  Anything about how "the hours weren't that hard" is probably a lie though.

3a.  "I worked for a wealth management/real estate/bankruptcy trust/law office near home.  It was unpaid* but totally worth the experience and resume line."

"I worked 10-12 hours a day filing papers and answering the phone, didn't learn much on the job because I wasn't trusted to do real work, but I read Perez Hilton and Drudge Report every day so I actually learned a lot.  I was also the head intern in charge of checking up on golf scores throughout the day for my boss."

*If this person was really creative, he even convinced some CMC research institute to give him a stipend.

4. "I did auditing/consulting for <insert Big Three accounting firm here>.  I traveled to lots of client sites and partied it up with the other interns."

This one is hard to make fun of... reasonable job, I guess. Moving along.

5. "I did outreach for a non-profit organization in Oregon dedicated to feline diabetes outreach."

What she really means is, "At an organization dedicated to kitties, I spent a lot of time looking at LOLcats.  I got a solid $3,000 from the Kravis Leadership Institute to do this, so it was money well spent-- thanks Henry! This also meant that the actual internship was unpaid so my bosses felt guilty about giving me work to do.  I occasionally got to the office by 10 AM and worked no more than three hours* per day."

*The three hours were spent on Facebook and

6. "I worked on an internet startup in Silicon Valley."

Six months later: "The management realized that Google/Microsoft/Yahoo already did what they were trying to do, so the investors took their money back and shut it down.  I never really understood what they were trying to do anyway."

7. "I took classes at the local community college."

See #2; add: "and now I don't have to take any BS joint science classes to get out of the GE requirement.  Sucka sucka."

8. "I worked for a multinational conglomerate that required me to travel throughout Europe and Asia while making bank.  You might have seen me on TV if you were in Japan this summer.  You can find it on YouTube if you missed it.  Hold on... I'm getting a text from Silvio Berlusconi... he says he wants to party again.  Haha, bro-ski knows how to rage."

Some people take the art of exaggeration too far.

My Fortune 500 CEO just told my secretary that he'd like me to come tell him how to run his company.  Such is the life of a summer intern, right?

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