Web Exclusives: Raising Kate
a PAW web exclusive column by Kate Swearengen '04 (kswearen@princeton.edu)

March 21, 2001:
When spring rolls into summer
Thoughts turn from love to internships

By Kate Swearengen '04

I'm worried about finding a summer job, I really am. In January I applied for three internships, and I've yet to hear back. My friend Denise suggested that I pay a visit to Career Services.

"I already did," I said. "You want to know what the woman there said to me? She said that I shouldn't actually apply for an internship -- that I should find a company in which one of my parents or one of my parents' friends has some pull, and ask that person to talk me up. I mean, do I look like I have a card to the old boys' club? If securing a good internship is dependent upon people pulling strings for me, then I'm going to end up back at home, kneading whole wheat dough at Shakespeare's Pizza."

"Don't worry, Kate," Denise told me helpfully. "I'm sure you'll have more fun making pizza than I'll have interning with Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong. I mean, I'm going to be working with stuffy, uptight executives, and you'll be working with the slacker high school kids who didn't get their lifeguard certification in time to work at the pool."

"Yeah, that's true," I said. "Shakespeare's won't be so bad. And I hear that if you make employee of the month, you get a free T-shirt and a 12-pack of Coke."

My friend Charlotte has a different perspective on the issue of summer employment. I was reading the notices on the main bulletin board at Frist when she approached me.

"Hey, have you seen this?" I asked her, gesturing to a sign that read: ëMoney. Power. Prestige. Sex. We'll supply the first three. Apply now for a Business Today 2001 Corporate Contacts Internship.'

"Yes," Charlotte replied angrily. "I read that the other day, and then I got mad at myself for even looking at it."

"I don't know," I said, perusing the advertisement. "They claim that they'll set you up with a rental car, a palm pilot, free lodging, and a cell phone. It doesn't sound so bad."

"Where's your integrity?" asked Charlotte. "That's like selling your eggs to those people who advertise in the Prince for a tall, blue-eyed donor with high College Board scores."

"Yeah, I thought about that, too," I said. "But I decided that I'll wait until graduate school before I start selling off my body parts."

But while my thoughts have turned to summer and its mercenary possibilities, my friend Gisele's thoughts have turned to spring and love. She's plotting how best to win the affections of Eric, one of Princeton's varsity basketball players.

"Take a look at this," Gisele told me the other day, pointing towards a player profile she had brought up on her computer monitor. "This says that Eric averages only one turnover every 23.4 minutes."

"Yeah, and it also says he's an economics major," I commented. "Too bad you hated your econ 101 class."

"He's an incredible player," Gisele continued. "And he's not getting the recognition he deserves. Did you read the article in the Prince the other day about the men's basketball team? It was Nate Walton this and Nate Walton that, how Nate Walton is the star of the team, how Nate Walton is a leader on and off the court. For Christ's sake, every time Walton ends up under the basket, he passes the ball out! He never takes the shot! I'm seriously considering writing a letter to the Prince. How could they have ignored Eric's important contributions to the team?"

Things really heated up when Gisele discovered that Eric lived in the building directly across from her own. After the Harvard game she wrote a poem commemorating Eric's role in the Princeton victory: "The Crimson didn't even come close/To breaking my favorite star./In fact, you scored the most/And took the team quite farÖ" Her poem ended with a request for Eric to tape a piece of paper to his window at 11:00 the next night.

After the composition of the poem came its delivery. Once she had observed that Eric's light was turned off, Gisele decided that he was out of the building, and that it was the ideal time to deliver her offering. We jogged across the courtyard to his dorm and dashed up the stairs, all the while humming the requisite Mission: Impossible theme. When we came to Eric's room, however, we discovered that not only were his lights on, but that the door was ajar. Gisele chucked her poem through the gap, and we ran, screaming, down the hall.

Gisele said she doubted that Eric would comply with her request; nevertheless, I went to her room at 10:45 the following night to see if anything would happen. From Gisele's window, we observed a suspicious-looking crowd clustered in front of Eric's dorm.

"Do you think that group of people has any connection to Eric?" Gisele asked me.

"I don't know," I said. "This is pretty exciting, though."

At 11:00 Eric himself appeared, pressing a piece of white paper to the window.

"Oh my God," screamed Gisele. "I can't believe it!" She rushed off to inform the sophomores down the hall of the recent developments.

A strategic meeting of sorts ensued, during which time Gisele's sophomore friends telephoned Eric and explained the situation. Declaring that introducing herself to Eric under such circumstances would be "too weird," Gisele refused an invitation to meet with him.

"I'll introduce myself to him eventually," she promised. "But for now, I'm having fun with this. I need more excitement in my life, and this is great. I'm going to write him another poem. The question is, should I deliver it before the Penn game or afterwards?"

This should be easy decision making, I tell Gisele. After all, I'm still trying to find a summer job with a company that is prestigious enough to look good on a resume but liberal in its standards for its employees.

"I've got a great idea," Gisele said. "It's not exactly summer employment, but it'll get us a ticket if Princeton qualifies for the NCAA tournament. The Prince is looking for sportswriters. Think they'd want us?"

You can reach Kate at kswearen@princeton.edu