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My alarm clock starts blaring at 7 a.m. sharp, and it usually takes me about 10 bleary-eyed minutes just to roll myself out of bed. Every weekday summer morning I face the same despair and confusion. I knew there was a reason why I schedule all of my classes after 10 during the school year. Each day I suffer from aches and pains -- courtesy of the previous evening's activities. I've actually begun telling myself, "Hey, you're getting old, your body can't handle this kind of punishment anymore!" But I'm not old. My parents get insulted when I say that. I'm simply away from the glorious locale where I spend most of the year, where I can sleep into the mid-morning or even afternoon and then take a calm five-minute stroll to class. I'm not at school. This is the thought running through my head every morning for that half-hour or so before I get on the train bound for Manhattan and my summer job. The only thing which prevents further distress is Howard Stern. It's amazing how listening to an obnoxious radio host ask porn stars if they know the square root of four really makes you feel so much better. So there is at least one summer bonus -- it's rare at school that I awake in time to hear Mr. Stern. I'll try to curb the whining, because I set out in this column to present a frank and honest reflection on my summer work experience. I am an intern at an esteemed cable news network. And I've got to admit the place is damn exciting. Fast breaking news, celebrity sitings, even the occasional glorified split-second on-camera as I walk by the newsroom set. I received my security ID badge on my first day and have proceeded to flash it proudly to any and all interested and uninterested parties in the building, a la Wayne and Garth with backstage passes to Alice Cooper. However, the other interns and I have yet to bow down our heads to the studio executives and chant, "We're not worthy," -- even an intern has too big an ego for that. My enthusiasm for the job was unbridled at the outset, I was ready to take on the media world head-on. I was eager for my first big assignment. Perhaps I would be needed for a major press conference, or to assist one of the big network executives. Maybe I could even fill in for an on-air star. But my boss had other things in mind. My orientation began with the words, "Let me introduce you to our Xerox machine and our fax machine. Are you familiar with fax machines?" I was thrilled and relieved that Penn had prepared me for such daunting responsibilities. I have always thought the general requirement should include a class on the intricacies of "paper technology." All jest aside, I was fully aware coming in that I was an intern, and therefore standing on the bottom rung. There is a need to pay your dues. The tedious tasks that I am required to do daily in my job really aren't that bad. And I get to do some interesting stuff too. I just haven't been on the bottom rung in a while. Probably not since the first day of freshman year, when I watched my parents drive away from Hill House as tears rolled down my face. The best part about my internship is simply being in such an interesting place and observing how everything works. I know the experience will certainly be worth it in the end, not to mention a nice boost to the ever-important resume. So don't despair, all you fellow underlings out there! However, my internship has also inspired another feeling: I'm thrilled to be going back to Penn for another year! I was certainly burnt out after finals, don't get me wrong. But all my agonizing experiences with floundering Xerox and fax machines have made me realize how much more interesting my studies are. I'd much rather be reading in Rosengarten than trying to figure out how to minimize photocopies. Classes and study are much better than we realize, we've just got to learn to appreciate them a little more. Not to mention having friends living literally all around you, and sleeping in before class (or even occasionally through class). Enjoy it while it lasts! Because my biggest nightmare is that a year from now, I will be back in front of a Xerox machine with no more time at Penn to look forward to. Maybe I should think about grad school after all?

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