I recently returned to swampy Florida from my bagel-filled summer in New York City, and there’s so much to unpack — aside from my hefty duffel bags of clothes, that is.
This summer, I spent two months as an intern for The Style Line and its agency CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL. From photoshoots on brownstone-lined Brooklyn streets to inspiring events and meetings in the flagships and studios of SoHo, through my internship, no two days were the same, which gave me a new sense of what it *actually* means to be on-the-go in the city that never sleeps.
Not only did I hone in on a ton of social media, entrepreneurial and editorial skills — I learned a lot about myself, friendships and career experiences in the city in general. Whether you’re a college student with internships on your mind or someone who’s about to move to a new city, I hope my stories and insights will give you some guidance (and/or entertainment).
1. ‘Making the most’ of your time in the city means more than sightseeing
Being in New York City (for any amount of time) often comes with the pressure to do and see (and eat) it all. But as an intern, I found “making the most” of my summer was also very much about reaching out to NYC-based professionals who I wouldn’t necessarily have gotten the chance to meet outside of the city. Whether it was using my free time to meet up with an editor after work or spending a weekend at a networking event for college women in media, I found opportunities to put myself out there — and I’m happy I did.
2. Be your own best friend — but hold on to friends who are there for you, too
There’s something to be said about truly enjoying time alone at the park, at a museum or unwinding (aka binge-watching What Not to Wear re-runs) after a chaotic workday; it’s an important part of growing up and being self-sufficient. But having reliable friends is also important, especially in an unfamiliar, isolating place. This summer, some people who I once considered to be acquaintances turned out to be amazing friends, and throughout my time in the city, I was reminded of the people who really have my back and mean the most to me.
3. Be inspired, not intimidated
One morning, I had the opportunity to join my boss at a breakfast for female founders, co-hosted by Goldman Sachs. When I saw this pop up on my iCalendar, the event description alone was enough to freak me out (and also send me into a I-Must-Wear-A-Black-Dress-And-A-Blazer-And-Flats frenzy). I knew it would be fascinating, but I thought I was going to be incredibly out of my element. Turns out, the event was enjoyable, engaging and relaxed, and the people I met were lovely and excited to hear how I got my internship and what I thought of the experience. (Also, I’m pretty sure I was one of the only ones in a blazer.)
The point is that it’s okay to be in an unfamiliar setting or out of your comfort zone, but second-guessing yourself will not get you anywhere. This summer, I was in the city making it work and doing things I loved — and that definitely counts for something.
4. In the city, you (usually) can’t just run back to your apartment if you forget something. My tote bag was never complete without these items:
a.) Water bottle
One of the worst feelings I experienced was getting to my subway stop underground to see the next train was five minutes away — and realizing I forgot my water bottle. Sure, in a pinch or a major dehydration situation, it’s worth it to pick up a bottle of H2O at the corner cafe or market, but those $2.50 water bottles at Pret A Manger quickly add up if you’re not careful. Save yourself, save some $$$ and do a good deed for Mother Earth: Just bring that water bottle with you.
b.) Hand sanitizer
Nothing good comes from those clammy subway handrails. If reading that sentence made you cringe as much as writing it (and reminiscing on some of the MTA sights, sounds and smells) did for me — wellp, we’re on the same page.
c.) Portable charger
Thanks to a morning commute filled with Google Maps searches and Twitter scrolls, my phone battery was usually hanging on a thread by the time I got to work. If you’re like me in that sense, always be equipped with a mini charger — your future self will thank you.
5. Not every (or any) city moment is straight out of a rom-com…
…but I do have some amazing experiences, memories and snapshots from this summer that would definitely make the cut if my life were a movie.
Here’s to the uptown 1, 2 and 3 trains, the dogs of Central Park West, whole wheat everything bagels, and the people who made my summer memorable and worthwhile — and who have become an important part of my story as I head into my final year of college.
Until next time, NYC!