What It's Like to Intern at Instagram, Cosmo, Man Repeller, and More

There are a ton of internships out there, but when you grow up in a generation that eats, sleeps and breaths for the latest inklings and industries, the number of applicants are increasing all while the number of open positions are plateauing.

Remember anticipating your college acceptance letter? After what felt like a lifetime of waiting, you refresh your inbox one more time-- just for good luck-- and question whether the subject heading, "Welcome to: (insert your top company here!)" is a dream or reality.

Not a dream! Wake up, get dressed and smell the coffee before you're late for your first day! You made it. You landed your summer internship. You probably don't even know exactly what to expect, but all that matters is that you busted your ass for this position and it totally paid off.

All in one summer, I've been lucky enough to land what I consider the greatest internship at MakeSpace, directly connect with Arianna Huffington and have the opportunity to witness my own voice go viral. Sounds like a lot for an undergrad student, but I'm not alone. There's comfort knowing that I'm not the only young adult waking up early, feeling excited to start the day and heck, isn't spending 9-5 fetching coffee!

I was thrilled to share and compare my experience with a few fellow interns. Like me, many are enjoying their unique and meaningful time interning at companies that not only supplement our resumes, but simultaneously stimulate our brains. While some of us are lucky enough to leave with some spare change, all of us are fortunate to inherit new concepts and perspectives that, come Fall, will benefit us back at school and prepare us for the long road ahead known as: the "real" world. Read along, feel inspired and start brainstorming because who wants to be "out" when they can be the next "in" intern?

1. From D.C to Digital Marketing
You can find Allie Little exploring the NYC streets by feet or instagramming by smartphone. This rising sophomore went from summers in France to a steady internship at Elizabeth Arden in New York City. "I realized that my usual laissez-faire summer lifestyle wasn't going to cut it" Allie admits, so she traded in croissants for crowded commutes and is currently in the middle of learning how to merge her "passions for photography and fashion to be a digital storyteller." Living for the latest trends, Little had discovered the excitement behind "every aspect being tied into the branding; from the props, to the way it was shot, to the editing and how it all ties into the digital branding strategy." Allie has always had a sixth sense for design, but before working she had little feeling as to what the "boss-intern relationship" would be like. Allie proclaims, "I have been pleasantly surprised because my boss has approached my internship as a real learning experience, giving me extra projects and research opportunities. She is not only a boss but also a mentor! I'm happy to say that my internship in NYC has lived up to the hype." Allie Little is pretty big when it comes to thriving interns. As Allie starts each day keeping up with the latest news, many of us are keeping up with her via Tumblr as she states " I had no idea that my internship would also allow me explore a personal project, developing my social media channels for TheNewYorkIntern."

2. Mapping the way to Man Repeller
The soon to be college sophomore had never interned before, but somehow Emma Hager managed to land what many would consider a contender for the internship of the summer. Hager works at Man Repeller after the founder, Leandra Medine contacted her directly, inviting her to join the team. "By the time I arrived here at the end of May, I had already written several articles for the site, and I suppose those acted as a substitute for a resume, which I really do not have! " Emma admits. Ready or not, Emma has discovered that,"thinking on my feet, and not thinking linearly, have been the two most valuable things I have learned" thus far. With little preparation, Hager seems the most surprised by the demand of the job; "not just mine, but of the actual employees. I, of course, had some conception of the demands of remaining a relevant site with integrity, in the vast ocean that is the world wide web, but I am still surprised as to the constant demands" she says. The constant demand goes hand in hand with a daily influx of content, making each day feel "pretty fresh." With the opportunity to pitch ideas and publish her opinions, the only downside for Hager is the long commute. Since she is staying with a friend, the journey to Man Repeller starts at the L Train where, "at rush hour, I cannot get a seat so it's a solid 35 minutes of standing. My favorite part, though, is how quickly I am plowing through books! I love that there is no service on the subway...I'm reading a book or so a week."

3. When Social Media becomes your Summer Job
Meet Zain Manji. Currently, you can find him interning with Instagram, but Zain is pretty much a pro as this Facebook owned gig is in fact his fourth internship (third internship as a software engineer) overall. With first day nerves already under his belt, Zain was most surprised by "how open my managers were to giving me more responsibility. My managers gave me a project which required a lot of research" which in turn, "really pushed me to improve my programming, leadership, teamwork, analytic, and product skills." While witnessing his own hard work come to life, Manji includes that none of this would have been possible without the "very intelligent people who were more than happy to offer their advice and knowledge if needed." Arriving at his office anywhere between 8:45 and 9:30, Zain can't complain as his day keeps him busy and the commute is covered by Facebook which "has their own shuttles to transport you to and from your home." The relaxing ride leaves Zain just enough time to send out final code reviews and arrive home by 9pm to kick back with friends. Considering he works under Facebook and Instagram, don't hesitate throwing Zain a like or follow back.

4. Arkansas to A-list PR
Coming from Arkansas, Shelby Daniel was set on spending her summer in New York, but like the rest of us, had to tough it out during the draining application process. Currently, she's interning at Sydney Reising Creative. "My hands were sore for weeks because I was writing cover letters every hour of every day", but Shelby was strategic and knew that "without a safety net of options, if this internship did not work out I wouldn't have been in the city or had an internship at all." With so much time invested on applications, Shelby had no idea what to expect once she landed the job. "All I knew was that I was about to meet and work for one of the most innovative PR girls in the game...but I think even if I would have had expectations, what I have experienced would still far exceed them." For Shelby, her reality doesn't sound too far from a dream as she reflects on "how willing Sydney has been to give me important tasks and how much she has trusted my abilities. Rather than giving me a lot of small things to see if I could do those before giving me more important things, she threw me right into the mix of it all." When your first day consists of sitting in on the 10th floor of an office with Hudson views, shadowing a huge client only to be followed by weekly events that the SRC team works on or Sydney invites them to, it seems like Shelby's stressful trek was seriously worth it.

5. Keeping up with Cosmo
Morgan Baila has a long history working with publications and can now add Cosmopolitan Magazine to her list as their latest Features intern. Her trick to landing the admirable position? "Living in New York and attending NYU made it a lot easier to see which publications were looking for interns. I learned how important it is to use your advisors connections and alumni network to get your foot in the door" Morgan states. Like Morgan, many of us grew up reading Cosmo so one can only swoon over working within the Hearst building. Morgan thinks that the movie industry has distorted our sense of internships since Cosmo immediately made her feel like a team member. "I love that we get to attend the Monday morning meetings and hear about the status of the current issue" she adds. As a NYU graduate student, Morgan leaves us with some advice " It is important to do internships and truly see if this career path is the right one. I have been really lucky to have great mentors along the way too, which is also one of the best parts of my internship." Feel free to seek out additional inspiration and even follow her on Instagram.

6. No Pain No Dwayne for The Rock Interns
If you haven't heard of The Rock Interns, then you must be living under one. The two risked their steady jobs at Best Buy and made the leap for Dwayne Johnson. Good luck tracking down the dynamic duo as they are "the keepers of his kettle-bells" and a few feet behind wherever Johnson is. This means his gym (standing beside him on the treadmill for 60 minutes), his truck, kitchen, and on set. "Sometimes we sing to him or read him the paper, but usually we just hold towels and keep quiet while he grunts and hums to Tay-Tay" they reveal. This hard working team tackles all of Johnson's needs, even the most extreme tasks which include "running out to get eight whole cod fillets...got to keep the big man happy #leanproteinonly." But their favorite part, they add is that "Mr. J wakes up every morning (very early) to the theme song from 'The Lion King.' How often do you get to learn such intimate details about such a beloved public figure? " Between Johnson's insane workout schedules and strict diet regimes, these two have become well trained fitness and diet experts, which will certainly boost their bodies and resumes for the future. The job is paid, but the two admit "we would do this for free." Plus, "Mr. J bought us the house next door to his so we could be on hand at all times and the commute is short." This one sounds almost too good to be true. That's because it probably is.