We asked about your bad internships, and you responded with some pretty rough-sounding experiences. That being said, there was one experience that transcended the others in pure terribleness.
Meet Kaitlyn, the Penn State student who interned for three months at a chicken farm that houses six million hens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (She requested that we change her name for this post.)
Kaitlyn, an animal science major set to graduate in 2015, worked at the farm from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day. One of her main tasks was to check cages for dead birds, in addition to cleaning walls and dusting lights. Here’s how it went in Kaitlyn’s own words:
“Now each hen house has around 100,000 chickens so naturally a few die every day just because thats how life goes. So there are 6 cages high and about 250 cages long, and 6 aisles. I walked up and down each isle with a flashlight and looked for birds that aren’t moving. If they’re sick I move them to a recovery pen, if they’re dead I take them out and put them in a bin to be disposed of. After doing the bottom three cages I then get on a cart and push myself up and down the rows to check the top three cages. All in all this task took me between 2 and 4 hours. I’m also alone the entire time.”
When asked to sum up why the internship was so terrible, Kaitlyn had this to say:
“I learned close to nothing except that I hate chickens. It smells like chicken shit constantly. Its also 90 degrees inside hen houses. I was inside the entire time, walking outside felt like I was coming out of a cave. I cried some days before going into work.”
In a follow-up phone interview, she confirmed that it wasn’t so pleasant on the backend, either. Upon returning home, Kaitlyn said, “I would stand in the shower and just hate everything.”
Still, there were some redeeming qualities of the internship. Kaitlyn said she made good connections and worked with some managers who said they would write her good recommendations for future jobs. And though she’d prefer not to work there after graduation, she said it could be a good back-up job.
But yeah, she’ll definitely be looking elsewhere for employment. Her final thought:
“It was awful. Honestly so awful. If you don’t pick me, I will be so confused. I picked up dead birds for 4 hours a day…and then dealt with the overwhelming chicken smell. I had to wear almost a gas mask looking thing the smell was so bad at times. Oh and its sooooo fucking dusty!! I missed work for a week because I got such a bad sinus infection from the dust my nose wouldn’t stop bleeding.”
At least she got paid.