Everything My Summer Internship Taught Me

This summer, I had the honor to work for Randa Accessories as a Corporate Sales Intern in their Bloomfield, New Jersey office. I worked five days a week, eight hours a day in my own cubicle, with my own name plate, under my own responsibility. I can confidently say that they treated me like a real employee and threw me right into the depths of it all, including client meetings, important deadlines, and big projects. Nevertheless, I learned more in ten weeks than I ever learned in a semester-long class, and I want to share it with you all! Here are the top ten things my summer internship taught me:

  1. Always ask for more work. There were many times where I felt annoying because I was constantly asking if anyone needed help, but in the end, it looked better being busy than being bored.
  2. Don’t ask too many questions. At the end of the summer, my supervisor evaluated my performance as an intern, and one of the things she critiqued me on was my hesitation to take risks. In other words, instead of trying to problem solve through real-world issues myself, I always asked someone what I should do. My supervisor explained to me that sometimes I just need to try to work through it myself because in the end, it will teach you more. In other words, you learn by making mistakes.
  3. Always be prepared for the unexpected. I remember one day at work, I went into it knowing I did not have much to do, so I let my guard down a little and took advantage of the time to just take a breath. Out of nowhere, my boss invited me to sit in on a meeting with one of their biggest clients. I was not expecting this at all, and it forced me to switch gears really quickly. Never expect nothing, because in the business world, especially fashion, something can always come up.
  4. Take advantage of your position and learn as much as you can. Working in a corporate environment involved being surrounded by people in many different departments. This was one of the most amazing aspects of the internship because I was able to learn about so many different areas that I could possibly work in after college. I even found myself interest in one particular topic after a workshop, and I took the initiative to set up a meeting with the head of that department.
  5. Don’t stress too much about appearance. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely should always dress to impress, but never feel like your coworkers are judging you. Even working at a fashion company, I never felt like I was being looked at if I wasn’t wearing expensive clothing.
  6. Write thank-you notes. During an internship, you will most likely be invited to have lunch with or attend a workshop lead by an important person in the company. No matter if that person stood out to you or not, always write a hand-written thank-you note. This will impress people more than you think.
  7. Adult life is hard. I have to say, the most difficult part of the internship was getting used to the hours. I found myself asking my parents, “How do you do this all year long!?” With that said, take advantage of being on a student schedule while you can.
  8. How to Navigate NYC. I had to include this because I definitely learned to navigate Penn Station and the city streets. Of course, this was after many days of getting lost and sweating almost all of my makeup off (not fun).