For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was get out of Connecticut. Small town life was not for me. I knew it; my parents knew it; my friends and teachers knew, too. But after three years of college and four internships within driving distance of home, the big dream seemed further from reach every summer I stayed home. This summer is different.
Over winter break, I applied for every internship I could find that was anywhere but southern Connecticut. After swimming upstream in the pool of undergraduate applicants, I got hired in Washington D.C.
The dream became a reality again -- and right after the excitement came the panic. Of all the things I've seen and learned in my life, the Huggies diaper jingle was the only thing that came to mind, "I'm a big girl now!"
Oh. My. God. This is real life -- and a real internship. It's the beginning of a career; it's the beginning of the real world. In my panic, I asked everyone and their brother how to prepare. Most of the advice ended up being what I shouldn't do. So, this is what I'm going to try to avoid while I'm in D.C.:
1. Asking stupid questions: The phrase, "There's no such thing as a stupid question," needs to be modified. It should state, "There's no such thing as a stupid question, unless you can Google the answer." If I can figure something out before having to ask, it shows that I can take the initiative. So instead of blurting, "What's that?" I can form a more intelligent question.
2. Slacking in front of/behind my boss: I'm going to be a senior next year, which means every recommendation counts five times as much. Future employment depends on who you know and who you've impressed in the past. Facebook, I shall miss you, but I'll see you on my lunch break.
3. Making rookie comments: Everyone makes mistakes, yes, but there are obvious things rookies can avoid -- aka posting inappropriately on social media. My boss is now following me on Twitter, meaning I'll be keeping my outfit photos and song lyrics to a minimum (if any at all). I also will avoid the pity-the-poor-intern statuses. If it was easy, it wouldn't be called work.
4. Spicing up my wardrobe: Clothes I wear to class or out to the club are not clothes I'll be wearing to the office, but what about the couple of outfits that could go either way? When in doubt, I was told to ask whether or not I'd wear it in front of my grandma or grab a sweater, just in case.
I think that covers some of it. Do I feel better about the situation? Sort of, but these butterflies in my stomach are not going away any time soon. If you see a girl on the side of the metro hyperventilating next Wednesday, it might be me.
Alexa will be blogging further about her experience this summer and profiling other students interning on The Hill. Check out her summer chronicle here.
Follow Alexa Gorman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlexaPlusCoffee