The Louisville Cardinal

My kingdom for a job: ‘Intern Queen’ Lauren Berger reveals how unpaid work pays off

By Tyler Mercer–

Having had 15 internships during her four years at the University of Central Florida, Berger now travels the country giving tips to college students about how internships can open the door to the future of employment.

Students gathered in Chao Auditorium last Wednesday night to hear the Intern Queen tell her story and point a guiding finger in the direction to success.

Her story and advice encouraged the audience present to not only take leaps of faith, but to have faith in themselves and their capabilities while on the journey to success.

“I’m Lauren Berger and I want to intern,” Berger said as she painted a picture of what would equate to a University of Louisville’s student’s experience with an advisor.

Berger was adamant that from the beginning she had aspirations and a motivation to follow through with them. Being as Berger was merely a freshman at the time, however, her advisor had little hope that anyone would accept her into an internship program.

This did not discourage Berger, however, and she recounted to the audience her search for an internship.
Like many college freshmen, Berger told listeners that she did not have a resume at the time and had to actually Google how to put one together. She was only able to include previous employment from establishments like Red Lobster, yet her goals and determination remained strong.

Berger highlighted that students should apply for opportunities that apply to them and that they are interested in. In her own life, she had actively searched for opportunities that she knew she would thoroughly enjoy. Berger went so far as to email Ken Baker, who at the time was the West Coast Bureau Chief for Us Weekly Magazine, to let him know just how interested she was in working with him, regardless that she wasn’t aware of an actual open position.

Berger informed students about the importance of putting yourself out there when it comes to getting an internship or a job.

She encouraged students to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Many students are familiar with the awkward tension that comes with applying for a new job or internship and Berger developed a connection with the audience with this.

Maggie Beiger, sophomore Communications major, noted the importance of Berger speaking about rejection. Berger told listeners that they would be rejected for the rest of their lives. Her view seemed to be that rejection is common and should be used as a building block for success instead of a hindrance.

In response to “For those who didn’t attend, what was an important idea they missed?” Gaelan Genoud, sophomore who is studying French literature and theatre, commented about “the fact that she was motivated in the sense that you should never give up.”

In fact, despite being told no from various people, Berger has managed to become a very successful individual because of her determination.

Berger, at one time, interned for very high profile organizations such as MTV and Fox.

Her experience in a professional atmosphere has left her with many skills and a great deal of knowledge about building and maintaining professional relationships.

She encouraged students present to stay in touch with their professional contacts at least three times a year.

In her personal experience this practice has helped her open up opportunities for herself and many other people.

Berger recounted another story in which her prompt and assertive response to a possible employer landed her an interview. The employer commented on her obvious drive and motivation by thanking her for a quick response and clear interest. Students in attendance were, most likely, fully aware of the times they failed to act quickly on opportunities.

Berger’s speech was not a chastisement for students, but moreover a wake-up call that the world is open and waiting. Students need only to set goals and find the motivation and drive to reach them and make — not find — success.

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Photo by Tyler Mercer/The Louisville Cardinal