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I've been in a coop program for 3 months and there are 3 months left. The company is the one that I highly esteemed before I came.

Unfortunately, it seems my manager doesn't care about my internship and told me at the very beginning that my mentor will manage all tasks.

However, my mentor didn't plan any project for me, and I am doing this internship with some work to do then totally idle for 4 weeks, then some little work then idle for another few weeks. 50% of the time, I just sit here and do nothing.

I asked my mentor several times about assigning me some new tasks, and every time he just fobbed me off with words like "Yes we should think about it" or "Oh sorry too busy I should check your code first then we talk about it." Sometimes he said we need to talk to the other team, and just leave me

What should I do? I am totally depressed and I really wanted to get a good review before I started. I gave up a Google internship for this because I thought it is longer and I can learn more stuff. This is totally unexpected. I am in deep depression each day and almost got me melancholia.

Should I quit? Should I complain to HR? or the manager of my manager?

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In my experience with coop (I've been a student and hired students), when there's nothing to do in your team, try and see if your manager will let you branch out in the office.

Maybe there's another group on your floor that could use some help or there's another employee who is more interested in teaching a student. It may not be exactly what you got hired to do, but you'll probably learn something interesting and expand your list of potential references for when you graduate.

Also, it takes the pressure off your manager who may have been surprised with having a student.

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I wouldn't quit. An internship is still an internship and it's a good addition to any resume.

It's definitely possible that there's nothing for you to do, but that's the fault of the company. They brought on a junior-level employee without really needing one.

While you're waiting around and/or in between tasks, I recommend doing some online courses or reading about topics related to your field.

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Should I quit?

Do you have any alternative internship lined up? Unless you have, you will be losing whatever good you get from the internship for nothing.

Should I complain to HR? or the manager of my manager?

Absolutely not if you want a good review.

You have to realize that people working there have their work to do and are not ignoring you just for the sake of it. Going to HR or your manager's manager to complain that your mentor is not sidelining his main work (the one your manager wants to be done) in order to guide you... well, they may have some sympathy for you wanting to work, but their priorities are clear and jumping the chain of command is likely to label you as a potential troublemaker.

I would approach your mentor and try to explain your situation to him, and ask him permission to go to your manager and ask for work directly from him or even to assign you another mentor that has more available time.

If your mentor promises to take more care of you instead but it does not change, then maybe you could consider going to your manager about the issue without your mentor permission. But if your manager does not solve the issue either, then that is the end of it (unless you quit).

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Showing initiative is a great trait in any employee, but especially in someone new to the work-force or the company.

Look around at the projects and processes in your department. See if you can identify a problem that you can solve, maybe a utility for data management, an improvement to the build & deployment process or something else to help the department. Do some research or create a prototype to share with your mentor and manager. Ask for permission to complete the project as part of your internship.

Researching and prototyping will be critical skills later when you are a full time employee somewhere. Being able to describe the project you researched and completed will be great for interviewing when your a looking for your first job.

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