Internship for the bright or advanced individual under guidance of a more senior practitioner. No making copies or coffee.

I have to say, though, I worked as a research assistant for my professor-mentor for three summers in undergrad. Basically, I made lots and lots of photocopies. If you asked me concretely what I spent my time doing, I made photocopies. I knew the people in the copy office really well, because I spent a lot of time there (this totally paid off when I had to produce copies of my thesis at the end of senior year). I also fetched tons of books from the library to make the copies from.

But I ALSO read and looked at the copies I was making. My professor gave me a draft syllabus, and I looked for potential readings for each class topic (this is back before the copyright crackdown on packets). She talked to me A LOT about the process of putting the class together, about what she wanted the readings to do, about how to juggle the calendar and deadlines against the natural flow of interconnected topics, etc. I produced a few options for each class, she didn’t like any of them and went and found something better, and told me why.

So yeah, if I tracked my time, 90% of it was photocopying or fetching from the library. But I learned a WHOLE lot in that other 10%.