Food For Thought: A Week In The Life Of A Wall Street Intern

When Dealbook profiled the daily lives of Wall Street interns, many of whom are currently flooding the city for the summer session, we expected a harrowing and grueling portrayal of thankless work in a notoriously tough industry. What we got instead? A lot of very upbeat attitudes, boundless enthusiasm, and a sense that these kids actually take pride in participating in an industry that has been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. And that's pretty great.
Of course, some of these internships pay really well, and it's the compensation (or rather, lack thereof) that has caused fashion internships to come under particular scrutiny. But the fact remains that, paid or not, interns are often expected to be taken advantage of. And applicants know, expect, and even enjoy that, going into it. That's the tone of many of the Tweets and Instagrams featured in this piece. The students seem to glory in #nosleep, two-hour commutes, and late nights followed by early mornings. They are, in a word, hardcore. But is that always a good thing?
The question here is this: Do internships like this set people up for a lifetime of working too hard and too much? Is there such a thing? We, of all people, have a hard time tearing ourselves away from our desks — but we know that no amount of money or work experience is worth it if you can't go out and participate in the world at some point. What do you think, former (or current!) interns? Was your experience a chance to learn and figure out what you really want in your career — or were you simply shuffled into the working world before you even realized it?