Lindsey Casella is a marketing intern at Verizon. She is a rising senior in Temple University’s honors program and is studying advertising with a focus in research and a minor in business. Lindsey is a recipient of the Keds and Seventeen Magazine Brave Life Grant, and says the skills she attained from past internships with leading fashion brands helped her get her current role. While new to the tech industry, Lindsey is energized by Verizon’s culture and is driven to be part of it one day. She looks forward to sharing stories about her experiences at Verizon.
An internship is often your first exposure to life beyond college. The intern experience is a must for those interested in building a resume and eventually – fingers crossed -- landing a job. While interning, you become well-versed in office lingo and better prepared for life in the real world. Most students assume that the sole responsibility of an intern is fetching coffee, but they’re wrong. Unless you work for some variation of Meryl Streep (cue the Devil Wears Prada), you should be treated fairly and not worry about those mythical intern-barista stories.
So let’s get to the facts that you might not know about nine-to-five life.
1. Office fashion
There’s no need to worry about conforming or investing in a ‘Hillary’ pantsuit. While it's important to observe what others are wearing so that your outfit is appropriate, companies like Verizon encourage business casual attire and are more concerned that you’re comfortable than best-dressed.
2. The “Buddy System”
Find an excuse to hang out with the team while at work. Your team is there to help you learn and will be extremely supportive and understanding as you get used to this very new experience. Need help printing? No problem -- do it together. You’ll never feel alone, because the reality is that you’re not. At one point, everyone was the new kid on the cubicle block.
3. Getting to the Home Stretch
2 p.m. hits everyone, everywhere. Personally, I don't think formal education thoroughly prepares you enough for this. In high school your average school day probably ended around 2 or 3 p.m. and in college you might have hour-long breaks between classes. It's important to combat the mid-day brain drought by munching on a snack or taking a good old seventh inning stretch.
4. Be realistic and happy
Staying positive is key. Sometimes your head might spin because it feels like you're learning more in a matter of hours than you did in the first 18 years of your life. It’s easy to get caught-up in the stress of everyday work life. It's important to be patient and remain true to yourself. They hired you for a reason and they don’t expect you to know everything from the start.
5. Embrace your inner foodie
Take a break for lunch. Internships provide an opportunity to build a strong network. How can you do that if you’re hidden behind your laptop all day? There are never too many snacks, but be mindful of those surrounding you (noisy is not the best policy). Take snacking as an opportunity to branch out. Very few people I know will turn down good food. Bring snacks and get on everyone's good side.
6. Be hungry!
I love food, can you tell? But it’s important to be hungry in the figurative meaning of the word. You should want to grow as a person and always think of where you are now. A personal problem is that my brain is always on the next thing. Try to focus on the current opportunities surrounding you. Be interested in your company, the industry and those around you. Show up ready to work and prove that you mean business. Don't be afraid to take risks.
7. Nail the elevator pitch
Speaking of risks: Turn potential empty stares and awkward silences in elevators into conversations. Who knows, this could make for a beautiful friendship or mentorship and a better morning.
8. Don't fight caffeine
I always thought I was above “the coffee life,” but I'm not. If you're like me and need caffeine but dislike the taste, then I suggest getting creative. Flavored shots always spice up your normal blend, or throw in some ice to make it summer appropriate. At Verizon, we have our own café which is clutch because you never have to leave the office. If you still can't bear the taste, I recommend trying Starbucks Refreshers powder packs. Just add water and they are a fruity alternative to coffee!
Get with the lingo. When overwhelmed with acronyms associated with normal business practices, I suggest creating an Excel sheet that you can use as a reference guide. It might sound silly, but having a cheat sheet is a great way to keep up with the lingo without having to sift through a pile of notes. On the topic of notes…
Fill the Blank Spaces
Get ready to open your mind and notebook as you experience this educational experience like no other. Cliché? Maybe. But it's honestly the truth. Whether you're mastering the skills of an entry level worker in your field or the dos/don'ts of proper business etiquette from those around you, it is important to always keep your eyes open and remain willing to learn.