Internship Etiquette

Internships are an awkward blessing. They represent a point in a young professional’s life when he or she embarks on the road to a career. It’s the in-between, not quite a student, but not quite a professional island of occupational pubescence. Being an intern parallels being a teenager: you think you’re an adult but not all the way. You want responsibility, but not too much; and last but not least, you really don’t know what you’re doing.

Many begin their journey with the all-important and oh-so-confusing internship fair, the first set of first impressions. Sure, you’ve had jobs before, but this is the initial step toward something that is supposed to benefit your life beyond a paycheck. The people at an internship fair are potentially interested in you possibly doing anything from fetching coffee to managing a crucial aspect of their business. So the question is; what do you do?

We all should know the basics. The mundane rhetoric of every mentor/professor/former boss we’ve ever had tells us it’s better to be too formal than too casual: “Wear a suit and tie just to be safe.” We know these things. We know how to dress, speak, and avoid coming off as uneducated. The real key to an internship fair is not only presentation, however; it’s presenting yourself to the right people and gaining some real knowledge about your options.

Every up-and-coming professional there is going to have a resume ready, dress nicely, and have something impressive to say. What sets you apart though, is the fact you’re going to flip the script and turn this random collection of potential interviewers into carefully selected interviewees. There are many different aspects of the experience that make this conversion a reality, but three steps are the real bread and butter of the operation.

1. Do your research:

Find out who is going to be there who is not, who interests you and who doesn’t. It sounds somewhat tedious, but it won’t really take that long or prove to be difficult. Most venue hosts have a listing of participants available over two weeks prior to the event. This will really help the process in terms of efficiency. There are a lot of people at these fairs, and if you’re into marketing and public relations, and a company is all about finance management, you shouldn’t even waste your time.

2. Prepare specific questions:

So, now you that know who you plan to talk to, figure out what you are going to talk about. It’s true that waiting in line to stand at a table for a couple of minutes is far from an interview. The person you talk to at the fair probably won’t even be the person who ends up interviewing you, and when all is said and done, you’ll get a business card, a bunch of papers to fill out, some pencils, and a chance to write your name on the mailing list like everyone else. However, the more questions you ask, the more detail you gain about the company or organization. You should remember that the only reason you’re at the fair is for yourself. Also, asking deeper questions leads to the need for more complex answers. Many times these questions are referred to someone else perhaps more involved within the company. This means you get to speak to, email, or fax a new connect. Networking is the key and oftentimes a good simple question is what gets your foot in the door.

3. Go by yourself:

Of course, it’s always fun to bring friends along to walk, talk, mingle and laugh, but, really—your friends don’t have to be with you. It’s difficult enough to make an impression in a sea of your peers—why show up with a clique? The chances of all your friends having the same career goals and paths is very slim, so they’ll probably just waste time talking to people that only you care about, and vice versa. They might even rush you from valuable information because they are bored or tired of standing. A team of friends at an internship fair is a bad look, to say the least.

These three tips should help your professional adolescence run more smoothly. There will be the awkward, unsure moments, of course; but I hope that these words of wisdom help you make the tables at the internship fair different from the ones that were in the cafeteria at lunch a few years ago.

You can contact Jason Burr at tua07372@temple.edu

Smoke-Free Philly

Non-smokers of Philly rejoice! On September 14, Mayor John Street signed a city-wide smoking ban for Philadelphia’s restaurants and bars. The new legislation prohibits smoking of any kind in most bars and restaurants within the city, as well as smoking within 20 feet of a public entrance to a business.

The bill passed the scrutiny of the City Council earlier this year, but there were doubts as to whether or not Street would sign it into law. Many predicted that Street would veto the ban because of a loophole that allows for smoking in outdoor cafes, and because of Street’s personal frustration with the bill’s author Michael A. Nutter, a former City Councilman who recently decided to enter his name in the running for mayor.

Street sighted overall public health concerns as the issue that finally persuaded him to approve the bill, which he signed in private.

The ban is supposed to take effect immediately, but businesses have been given some time to prepare for the new law while city officials try to hammer out the details of how it will be enforced. As of now, only sidewalk cafes and private clubs that apply for exemption will be excused from the legislation.

Some City Council members, such as Frank DiCicco, are working to ensure that the ban retains the clause that allows businesses the opportunity to apply for exemption.

Street claims that the exemption of sidewalk cafes is a major gap in the ban and a remaining danger to public health. He said that he is hopeful that the City Council will soon amend the law by making it illegal to smoke at sidewalk cafes.

So what does this mean for the average person? Smokers may not be happy with the fact that they’ll have to step outside to satisfy their nicotine habits from now on. On the other hand, the dining experience for non-smokers will undoubtedly be more pleasant and many people may be inclined to try new restaurants and bars that were once too hazy to venture into.

This move by Mayor Street and the City Council may even result in an increase in business for local restaurants and bars. When a similar ban was passed in New York City several years ago, it was believed by many that some of the old eateries and taverns with a large clientele of smokers would lose business; but, instead, the number of patrons actually increased, since non-smoking customers are no longer deterred by the smoky atmosphere as a result of the ban.

A recent poll of Philly area diners, conducted by Zagats (one of the more definitive restaurant review guides), showed that only three percent of patrons said they would dine out less with a smoking ban in effect, while 72 percent said that they would dine out the same amount as before, and 25 percent would dine out more with the ban in place.

Time will tell if these predictions will come true. But whether you’re in favor of the ban or strongly against it, smoke-free bars and restaurants are now (or soon will be) a reality in the City of Brotherly Love.

You can contact Zack Engel at a-e@campusphilly.org.

Campus Philly Press Event

Campus Philly held a press conference outside of City Hall to officially announce the details of the Campus Philly Kick-Off, our upcoming annual free concert and festival on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sept. 30. Because the Kick-Off is presented by the City of Philadelphia, Mayor John F. Street was present to speak at the conference. Stephanie Naidoff, the city’s Commerce Director; Marla Shoemaker, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Jon Herrmann, the Executive Director of Campus Philly, were also featured speakers.

Mascots from Drexel University, Cabrini College, Villanova University, and Manor College pumped up the crowd and previewed the Kick-Off’s celebratory spirit. Wired 96.5 was also on-site with a company car, which the Villanova Wildcat and Drexel Dragon hopped into to pump some tunes before the speakers addressed the crowd.

Naidoff talked about the many social, professional, cultural, and community opportunities that Philadelphia offers young people. Referencing the results of recent studies showing that more college students are choosing to stay in the area after graduation, she said that the “brain drain” has now become a “brain gain.”

Shoemaker announced the names of all the institutions that will participate in College Day on the Parkway, which will also be held on Sept. 30 to coincide with the Kick-Off. Now in its twentieth year, College Day on the Parkway offers free admission to cultural institutions around the city for area college students.

The participating institutions include: the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the National Constitution Center, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Rodin Museum, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.

Mayor Street said that he was excited about all of Philadelphia’s recent improvements, including plans to make the entire 135 square miles of the city wireless accessible. He also expressed his enthusiasm about the area’s 300,000 college students, and his hopes that they will embrace the city as their home. Street applauded Campus Philly’s efforts to involve students in off-campus activities through its website and events such as the Kick-Off.

Herrmann announced that Fat Joe and Saves the Day will be the headlining musical talent for the Kick-Off. Also performing will be Gabriele and Tangible Truth, The Capitol Years, taragirl, The Mighty Paradocs, and The PoPo.

In addition to the free concerts, Herrmann said that students can expect to see TNT Red Bull Motocross performing freestyle tricks; an involvement fair hosted by the Philly Fellows with community service opportunities; a skate jam by Franklin’s Paine; and the Battle of the Best, featuring student performance groups giving Latin/hip-hop dance and fashion shows.

After thanking the mayor for supporting Campus Philly and the Kick-Off, Herrmann presented Street with a Campus Philly sweatshirt as an honorary member of the staff.

DJ Skeme wrapped up the event by playing funk and soul music as backdrop for three b-boys, who previewed their performance for the Kick-Off. The mascots and crowd cheered on the dancers as they break-danced on a temporary floor set up on the plaza.

Various media outlets, including local ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox affiliates, were present to document the action.

Herrmann and the rest of the Campus Philly staff called the day “a complete success.”

To learn more about the Campus Philly Kick-Off on the Ben Franklin Parkway Sept. 30, go to the Kick-Off section of the site.

You can contact Nicole Woods at editor@campusphilly.org.

MANNAfests

Are you looking for a way to get involved in Philadelphia? Do you like attending happy hours, shows or other events? MANNA, a local non-profit organization, is making it possible to do both at once.

In order to raise money for meals distributed to AIDs/HIV and other terminally ill patients, MANNA has established MANNAfests, monthly social events targeting the 21-40 age demographic.

“I wanted a way to engage some of my friends,” said Rob Saxon, a MANNA events manager. “I wanted to do so something that was affordable to get young people involved.”

MANNAfests include happy hours, concerts, bowling trips, scavenger hunts, shows and anything young adults would find interesting. Prices vary from event to event, but all donations go toward paying for meals for participants. Each $15 donation pays for a full day’s worth of meals for one MANNA client.

The first MANNAfest was an invitation-only happy hour event held in July at Aria The Condominium. Over 100 people attended and the organization raised $1,100. The August event, a happy hour at Copa Miami, also saw over 100 people and raised $940.

The September event will be on Sept. 20 at the World Café Live from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For a $15 donation, participants will receive a complimentary drink ticket, drink specials, CD giveaways and free parking.

In addition, World Café Live will offer a four-dollar discount on tickets to see that night’s performing band, The English Beat.

MANNA is also planning a scavenger hunt for Oct. 10, in which participants will travel around the city looking for clues, and the participant with the most clues will win a prize.

Saxon hopes that by familiarizing young people with MANNA, they will gradually begin participating in some of the larger fundraisers that the organization holds, including Pie in the Sky, a volunteer-based bake sale that bakes and sells its own MANNA pies.

MANNAfests are a way to help people in need in the city while having a great time and meeting new people.

For more information on MANNA or more details on MANNAfests, visit mannapa.org or myspace/mannafests.

You can contact Ally Taylor at allison.taylor@villanova.edu.

Indulge for Cheap

From Sept. 10-15, Philly restaurants give you the chance to satisfy your appetite without breaking your bank. Over 100 of the city’s most renowned restaurants welcome diners from far and wide as part of the seventh Center City Restaurant Week (presented by Mercedes-Benz). All participating restaurants offer a three-course meal for a fixed $30 price tag (not including tax, tip or alcohol).

Based on similar discount programs in New York and Washington D.C., Philly’s Restaurant Week is specifically designed to attract new customers to established restaurants and introduce patrons to new eateries in the city. Because September is a notoriously slow business month for many restaurants, Restaurant Week also promises to infuse the participating businesses with customers.

It’s generally easy to rack up a bill of well over $100 at many of the participating eateries during a normal night out (to qualify for the Restaurant Week, an establishment must have an average bill of $50 or more). But thanks to the Restaurant Week, the average person has a great opportunity to indulge in some of the best restaurants Philly has to offer for a comparatively miniscule price.

As an additional incentive, the Philadelphia Parking Authority and Philadelphia Parking Association get in on the act by providing reduced parking fees (as low as $8.50 with a voucher from a participating restaurant) at many Center City garages and lots.

All participating locations will be identified by a Center City Restaurant Week poster.

The most recent Restaurant Week drew a grand total of 83,378 diners and produced an additional income of over two and a half million dollars for the contributing restaurants.

The week of September 10 is a great time to dine in Center City. Customers who take advantage of Restaurant Week will receive a chance to enter for a grand prize of dinner for a year at all participating restaurants. It’s a dining enthusiasts dream.

You can contact Zack Engel at a-e@campusphilly.org.

Six weeks, six thousand miles

After six weeks of sushi and sake, studies and socializing, soul searching and self-discovery, the time to say sayonarato Tokyo had arrived. But, even as I stared at the Tokyo streets from my window seat on my Chicago-bound flight, I couldn’t believe it was time to leave. Pressing my forehead against the windowpane, I craned my neck to catch one last glimpse of the city lights fading into the distance.

We swiftly made our ascent to the skies, and somewhere around the 30,000 foot altitude mark, it hit me. This could not be right. Had six weeks come and gone already? I believe it was somewhere between the second and third in-flight movie I had an epiphany. Debating time’s cruel trickery, I realized, I must have entered into some time-space continuum. As soon as I had set foot on Japanese soil, hours seemed only seconds and the days merely minutes, and so the passage of time went until the six-week stay was over.

That was the only explanation, albeit not a very reasonable one. I was still forced to surrender my temporary alien registration card. I even half-considered pleading my case to the Immigration authorities. I could have possibly proposed my theory on time to the stern-looking Immigration officer inspecting my passport, but I soon dismissed the thought. And in return, I was granted entry to my homeland, a bittersweet return from my six-week hiatus.

But six weeks, it seems, was just simply not enough time to observe and study Japanese culture and society—though I have the sneaking suspicion that spending an entire lifetime in Japan wouldn’t even suffice. There are just too many parallels between past and present, east and west for mortal man to cover in complete accuracy and detail. Cultural mergers between tradition and modernity abound within the very fabric of Japan, from the ornate patterns of the komodo to the cutesy couture of the Harajuku girls. Even the entertainment industry is split by the passage of time, as both kabuki theatre and karaoke bars mark the map for Japanese leisure.

Yet, these same outlets for Japanese lifestyle aren’t entirely of Japanese design. While the allure of the heated public bathhouses of Hakone are obviously geographically unique to Japan, Tokyo Disneyland is still a major attraction. And as J-pop tops the charts, hip-hop also has a strong urban presence, one that is obviously American-influenced.

Maybe I was looking at this entire situation from the wrong perspective. I’m an amateur after all, specifically, a Philadelphian whose previous extensive travel includes the exotic lands of the Jersey shore points. I was selfish enough to consider my personal observances and reflections to be top priority when I never fully took my subjects into consideration.

I now realize that this trip wasn’t a one-way street, where I simply received information. This trip was a broad intersection, a cross-cultural exchange of ideas. And to think, my journal entries, photographs, notes and even this very column were created under a horribly misguided mantra. All the while, it was quite possible that the Japanese rockabilly punks posing for pictures, the hostesses serving my soba noodles or the business men buying me drinks were observing my language and my lifestyle.

And what could my subjects have learned from me? I imagine one inevitable question churning through the mind: are tourists and journalists really all that different? After all, both document the sights, observe the sounds and walk the streets completely clueless in hopes of help from passersby. While the journalists dig the dirt for the next big story, tourists dig through the department stores for those classic so-and-so “went to Japan and all I got was this lousy tee shirt” souvenirs.

Okay, so admittedly I have been known to be a bit of a tourist, judging by my occasional shopping spree and a slight shutterbug tendency. But it’s damn near guaranteed you will never find me sporting a Hawaiian button-down shirt and a glob of sunscreen on the nose. And I will never have a penchant for those pitifully lousy tee- shirts. I do have to retain some degree of professionalism.

But, of course, there are a few factors that obviously marked me as foreign during my journey. My height, weight, skin tone, hair color and pretty much any physical attribute placed me in the “other” category. And in Japan, ‘foreign’ is pretty much synonymous with ‘sightseer.’ Maybe tourists and foreign journalists aren’t really all that different after all.

And I am willing to live with that because I have returned home a changed person. I am still hoping I’m more journalist than tourist; though, admittedly, sharing my many adventures has been a challenge. The cultural exchange hit me hard, lowering my inhibitions and raising my intrigue. In six weeks, I saw the urban streets of Tokyo and the spiritual havens of the Shinto shrines. In six weeks, I learned to strip my self-doubt and clothes for a public bath. In six weeks, I came to love a land that was not my own. And when the six weeks were over, I came to miss all of the seemingly social foibles. The sushi at dawn, the sleepy “salary men” hung-over at the train station, socializing in foreign syllables Hai Iie Kudasai. Saying sayonarawas harder than I thought.

You can contact Jackie Jardin at jackyjar@temple.edu.