6 Life Lessons I Learned from My Summer Internship in NYC

New York City is a lot different from Orlando, to say the least. And when Orlando is already a much bigger city than where you are from, NYC is an intense culture shock. But, regardless, like many students in my major, it was my dream to intern there—so I made it a reality. Throughout my trip, I noticed so many things that I had never been exposed to or had never been given the opportunity to experience. Here’s what interning in NYC taught me—and what it really looked like.

  1. 1. Homesickness is REAL.

    When you first get that call or email accepting you to the internship program of your dreams, you can never imagine that you will ever want to leave the city again once you get there. However, I can attest that homesickness is real, pretty much anywhere you go.

    Even if you are so in love with NYC that you want to stay there for the rest of your life after college, you might come across a day or two where you just want to hug your family and be surrounded by your besties. Don’t forget to take advantage of FaceTime and give yourself some time for self-care. Most of all, remind yourself why you are there and remember all of the reasons you do love the city.

  2. 2. You're going to get confused... a lot. 

    In your internship, it’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone you'll work with will know a lot more than you do. Don't forget that you're an intern, and you're still learning! You aren't expected to know everything right away.

    It’s intimidating, but always remember that they want to help you! If you're confused or want to learn how to do something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It could be the most valuable lesson of your life, and something you take into your future career. Use these opportunities to boost your skills for your resume!

  3. 3. Take every opportunity to network.

    In a city that big, there are bound to be people who want to hear what you have to say. If you get the chance to network, take it! Use your time to attend conferences or events in the city. Chat with everyone in your office and ask them about their careers, or even try to spend some time visiting other companies that you are interested in, to do a few informational interviews!

    Reaching out to others in the field can be the difference between getting your name out there or not—people love to see potential employees making moves on their own. These experiences can lead you to your future dream career, especially if you want to stay in NYC after college—make this time worth it and use it to your advantage!

  4. 4. Say yes to everything.

    Chances are, it will be awhile until you are living in the city again. If you have never been to NYC or have never lived there for that long, use your free time to explore and find out everything the city has to offer. Take weekend trips to Coney Island, visit Soho when you need a retail therapy day, and spend an evening in Central Park with friends. After all, once you leave, it will be a while until you can do it again.

    This also applies to office events and networking parties—say yes to anything that will benefit you or your career, or could give you the memories of a lifetime. Find what you love about NYC, but also notice what you don't love. This is key to discovering if it's the right place for you in the long term!

  5. 5. The city doesn't stop moving— ever.

    NYC is a lot busier than Orlando. I warned you. However, don’t let it intimidate you! Even if you get lost on your way to work throughout the whole first week, try and let the fast-pace of the city inspire you instead of stress you out.

    Each day, pretend like it’s post-grad life and you are strutting the streets, heading to your amazing job and getting ready to take on the world again. Find the excitement all around you and use it as motivation to achieve your goals. Also, be prepared to walk extremely fast. Or get trampled. It’s really your choice.

  6. 6. It will be one of the most valuable experiences you will ever have.

    No matter where you intern, internships can give you some of the most valuable work experience ever. Have fun, but remember that you are there to work hard and prepare for a future career as an amazing girl boss. Ask questions, always be on time and go above and beyond. Make them remember you!

Although sometimes it might be hard (I’m looking at you, packed subway at 5 p.m.), these experiences are ones that you will carry with you forever. Make the most of it! And don’t forget: while you’re there, take every opportunity to make yourself feel like a fierce Blair Waldorf. After all, you earned this.