YOU ARE SO happy to get the opportunity to show the world your stuff. You get a suit tailored and your shoes shined. You even go for a haircut. You arrive on the first day polished and ready. So what do you do when you discover that your internship's sole purpose is to sort through mail, refill the candy machine and answer phones? You did not go to school for this. You're getting a degree in aerospace engineering - don't they know this? Sometimes - often, actually - you will have to pass through universal rites of passage to go from an inexperienced university student to a fully fledged worker bee. Internships are usually one of the career summits you have to conquer. Here are some suggested survival tips to make your internship more enjoyable and rewarding when you suspect your employer is simply looking for an unpaid secretary or office cleaner. The key is to make yourself indispensable. Volunteer your skills for a project, either an existing one or by creating one yourself, but keep in mind that this enterprise should be non-threatening to other employees. For example, make yourself indispensable by offering to create a database that organises your department's collection of lunch menus. Teach everyone the system and let them become dependent on you when there is a problem or if they have questions come lunch time. This not only shows your organisational skills, it also shows that you are an initiator. It will also introduce you to other employees. Remember you are there not only to fulfil a college credit requirement, but also to network yourself into a paying job after graduation. Answer the phone with professionalism. Remember everyone's names and positions when they call. It will establish intimacy with the caller and your bosses will know that. Study the employees. Watch their habits. Know what newspapers they read in the morning, what brands of tea they drink, how they shake hands, how they hold their portfolios and go where they go. You will be looked on as more of an equal when you dress, behave and act as a full-time employee would and appear more able to take on the responsibilities of one. If you've tried these things and are still pushing the mail cart or spending time with the filing system - then accept that this is your job and do it with a smile. Sometimes, bosses will put you to the test and make you do menial jobs because they had to do them when they started out. If you do it with no complaints, you should pass to the next level. It's sometimes necessary to see if you are up for the challenge in the real world.