By Shoshana Feld-Sobol
Expected Graduation: May 2017 (Senior)
Major: Strategic and Corporate Communication
The sun is still shinning bright, the wind still warm, and the general feeling of summer still radiates through the air. But alas, the new academic year has fallen upon us as swiftly as ever.
Before we are consumed with school work and taking more trips to the library than to the beach, it’s important to remember how we filled our summer. The lessons we learned in various internships, jobs, college courses, or through travels abroad can lend a tremendous amount of insight into what we may want to pursue in the future. Whether you’re a soon to be a graduating senior, or a beginning freshman, the lessons are of equal importance.
Did you partake in a job or internship you liked – maybe even loved or loathed? Did you travel to an abroad destination that changed what you wanted to study or explore in the future?
Whatever you did, whether mundane or not, there is always a deeper message or lesson to be learned from the experience, either positive or negative.
For me, I spent my three-month summer interning in New York City. Here are the top five lessons I learned from a summer spent in the Big Apple.
- Living and working in a city is revolutionary. There is a sense of comradery on the NYC subway; a sense of purpose when walking down the bustling streets of Midtown West. Being able to access everything I could ever want and need in one location without the need for a car changed the way in which I envision the environment I want to live in after I graduate this May.
- The 8.5-hour day is understatedly tough. I had the privilege of starting work at 9:30am, which is an hour, or even an hour and a half, after some of my peers. However, the later morning meant for a longer evening. Working from 9:30am to 6pm everyday was an adjustment to say the least. Don’t get me wrong I loved the people I worked with, my fellow interns, my boss, and for the most part the work I was doing. But, I never knew the temperature outside (unless I looked at my weather app), because besides for my lunch break I spent the remaining 7.5 hours of the day sitting on my spinning chair, eyes glued to the computer 10 inches from my nose.
- Hustling is expected, not something you’re rewarded for. Manhattan is a city riddled with overachievers, doers, creators, and dreamers. The blueprint of the city is constructed on hard work and determination; thriving on passion and sweat. When you stay the extra hour at work or clean the kitchen during your lunch break you aren’t patted on the back and thanked profusely. You’re greeted with a smile of encouragement that says you’re doing exactly what you should be.
- Three months is a great amount of time to learn if a position is right for you. I was the Marketing and Partnerships intern for a full service advertising agency. Prior to my internship I was hoping marketing would be exactly the field I wanted to pursue post-graduation. And, for the first month of my internship I absolutely loved my position. However, as the fourth week of my first month winded down, I didn’t feel as positive about the marketing role as I did in the beginning. In my second month I was confronted with the reality that marketing might not be for me. During my final month at my internship I had the opportunity to attend client meetings and partake in other various professional activities that opened my eyes to different occupational opportunities I wouldn’t have found if my internship finished after the second month. Thus, the span of my internship allowed me to realize that marketing might not be for me, however there are various other paths in the same general field I would like to pursue.
- The people you work with can make or break your experience. The people in your office are the individuals you’ll spend most of your days, weeks, and quite frankly your years with. These are the people you see 8 hours a day 5 days a week. You’ll spend your mornings with them, afternoon, and evening hours until you’re released from work at 6pm. If you work with great people, they can make your workday more fun, enjoyable and productive. But if you don’t like the people you work with or are in a less positive environment, that can be a huge damper on not just your day, but your everyday life. Make sure the people you’ll be working with are just as good of a fit as the job you’ll be doing.