I had a friend named Darla, once. Darla was a smart girl; she finished her first-year with a 4.0 GPA and a column in the YDN. But, during the summer, she decided to go back home and help her parents with their boutique scented candle business. The next fall, Darla was tragically killed when a grand piano fell on her head from three stories up.

I had another friend named Jamie. Jamie was only an okay student. Unlike Darla, she decided that, during the summer, she would take up an internship with Morgan Stanley. The next fall, Jamie found seven thousand-dollar bills on the ground in quick succession and used them to buy a lifetime supply of paper bags.

Did you catch the difference between Darla and Jamie? It might not be immediately clear, but Jamie took a summer internship. Darla did not. It doesn’t matter if you suck up to all your professors or get A’s in all your classes. What really counts is developing those real-world skills at a hedge fund in New York. Who cares about economic theory? Nerds, that’s who. As long as you look like you know what is being discussed, you will succeed.

Pay no attention to the suckers slaving over textbooks. While they’re wasting their time taking notes in class, you should be perfecting those application responses and resumes. No need to worry about failing your classes! Just tell your professor that you had an internship over the summer and that school isn’t really relevant to you anymore. They will understand that the craft of thriving in an office setting is much more important to master than any course material, and will automatically give you an A for the semester so as to not bother you with silly homework and exams.

Sadly, some fail to heed this advice. It is always disheartening to see misguided students go back home for the summer and do nothing of great importance. How are they ever going to build those real-world skills? What are they going to brag about when they get back on campus? Who will backhand slap them across the face for adding three Stevias to a latte instead of two? Their professors will pity them. Their classmates will despise them. And for what? A bit of quality time at home with loved ones after being away for a couple months? 

Remember kids: family and friends are temporary. Your internship is forever.

—J. Wypasek