The youngest intern

That Monday morning last summer, I walked into a very office-looking place, my heart beating nervously. It was the first day of my first internship at a law firm.

I spent the next two days adjusting to the privileges of a work life. A huge cup of coffee arrived twice a day at my desk signalling "grown up" to the 14-year-old me. I got my own official "work" email in which I was 'intern3'. I even had my very own key card to operate the huge office door and let myself in.  

Alongside, of course, came the horrors of office life: looking at the clock after an hour and realising it had only been 10 minutes since I last checked. Another nightmare was that the desktop I was assigned to had no access to social media.

At the cafeteria during lunch each day, the lawyers grew more and more shocked that I was willing to spend a whole week of my much-cherished holidays at the firm. I would have all the work hours I could ever want in 10 years' time, they said. Some teased me with, "Back when I was your age, I was focusing on staying in school!" or "All I ever thought about then was what my mom had cooked for lunch!"

Through a haze of research work and writing memoranda, it was suddenly Wednesday. I was already very proud of myself when I walked into office that day after opening the huge glass door with my card. When I got in, I was told that a firm partner was setting aside 10 minutes on Friday to listen to a presentation by the firm's youngest ever intern - me. I felt my pride level hitting a high score.

I spent the next two hours trying to decide on a suitable topic and after much pondering decided on the Right to Privacy. It was a topic that many young people like me felt passionately about.

For the next few hours, I was glued to my computer screen, poring through tens of Internet sites. Someone had to remind me to eat lunch, a definite first for me, since I loved the cafeteria food and the fact that it was free. I Control+C'd and Control+V'd my way to17 pages of information before I was satisfied that I had done enough research.

Thursday passed much the same way. I stayed up late, editing and re-reading my PowerPoint. It was only when I realised that I had changed the colour of my font thrice - for lack of anything else to change - that I was satisfied.

On Friday morning, I wore my best formal clothes. I entered the office and took my chair. I waited for what felt like an eternity before I was finally called in.

I'll admit, the presentation wasn't perfect. I stuttered and stammered. But soon I was able to convince myself that I was speaking in a courtroom battle fighting against some imaginary injustice. My passion and confidence grew and I finished my presentation to smiling faces.

It was at that moment I saw a future where law would be my passion in life, if not my profession.

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