Princeton Internships in Civic Service

A Day in the Life

shirley-wuShirley Wu ’15 is currently a senior studying in the Woodrow Wilson School, with a focus on human rights and East Asian studies. As a PICS intern, she worked for the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program in the summer of 2012, working to organize a 10-day seminar on journalism for disadvantaged high school seniors from low-income backgrounds. She is now a student representative on the PICS Student Advisory Council. On campus, she dances with Triple 8 and plays club volleyball.


A Day in the Life of a PICS Intern –
The Princeton University Summer Journalism Program placement

My daily schedule for the first 6-7 weeks was very relaxed, since my immediate supervisor was in D.C. I had flexible hours, and was allowed to work from home whenever I felt like it. Basically, my work schedule was left to my personal discretion – I usually started late and worked more in the evenings. I had my own personal office space to work in as well.

For the first 6-7 weeks

  • 10am – I started every day responding to a barrage of emails, checking the PUSJP voicemail box, typical house keeping things for any organization.
  • 11:30am – Every day, I would call my supervisor in D.C. for instructions, to update him on the previous day’s work, and figure out any kinks that came up.
  • 1pm – I preferred late lunches, so I usually took about half an hour off around 1pm to relax and grab a bite.
  • 1:30pm – The afternoon was usually devoted to making phone calls to outside vendors to setup transportation, food, field trips for the students, and brainstorming investigative stories the program participants could potentially pursue.
  • 6pm – I usually left the office around this time and went home to cook dinner.
  • 8pm – I’d work from home for an hour or two in the evenings, checking emails from people who responded later in the day.
  • 10pm – The evenings I was free to enjoy myself. I lived with 9 other people in an apartment this summer, so after everyone returned from working in the lab, we would hang out or watch a movie.

During the program

Disclaimer – not every placement is like PUSJP! During the 10 days of the program, I slept very minimal amounts, and lived with the program directors and students. I was on call 24/7 and had very little personal time. Here’s what a typical day during the program looked like:

  • 6:30am – Wake up calls and take the students to breakfast with a guest speaker
  • 8:30am – Morning journalism workshops begin. I was responsible for meeting each guest workshop coordinator.
  • 12pm – lunch, and then shuttle everyone onto a bus to Ewing, NJ to cover Representative Rush Holt’s town hall meeting
  • 3:30pm – Bring all the students back to campus to the newsroom, and work with them on their articles [along with the directors and counselors]
  • 5:30pm – Dinner with a guest speaker
  • 7pm – The students break up into discussion groups lead by a program director, and I would float from group to group to get to know the students a bit more. Finding quality time to spend with them was harder than I thought it would be!
  • 8pm – Writing time in the newsroom!
  • 10pm – Another writing workshop on how to cover sports stories, led by counselors.
  • 12am – Group discussion on ethical dilemmas journalists face
  • 1:30am – Lights out for participants, room/bed checks
  • 2am – Lead full staff meeting, review schedule for next day
  • 3am – Bed!