Beginning the process of looking for an internship was beyond exciting for me. It meant that I was wrapping up my college experience and getting ready to move onto the next big thing, the real world. I started my search early, and applied to at least 15 sites, if not more. I only heard back from five of those 15 sites and interviewed at almost every single one.
After the long process of interviewing, writing up a dozen cover letters and waiting, I picked the internship site that I felt would be best for me. My supervisor was extremely professional and was excited to have me start. I went in to meet with him, and went over everything that was to be expected of me. I had him sign my learning contract and was ready to start the semester with the perfect internship.
Then the unexpected happened. The day before I was supposed to officially start my internship, I had a voicemail on my phone from my supervisor saying that we needed to talk. In the few days that I had met with him, the parent company had to sell off some of its assets, including the company I was supposed to be interning for. That meant my supervisor was out of a job and I was out of an internship before I even started.
I started to freak out. What was I supposed to do? I had done everything right, didn’t leave anything to the last minute, and was going to be starting the perfect internship. After a five-minute freak out, I knew I had to sort this out. No one was going to do it for me, and I had to take care of it before I let the situation escalate. I opened up my laptop and pulled up the rejection emails I had written to the other internship sites I decided not to go with. I felt really awkward and awful about having to ask for an internship after I rejected one, but I pulled it together and sent out the emails anyway. I got a super quick response from my current internship site (and also my second choice) basically saying that the situation stinks and I should come in and start the next day! I was excited, and pretty much had a new internship in about 10 minutes, something that I realize doesn’t happen to everyone.
At this point, over a month into my internship I am more than happy that things turned out the way they did. I love my site and my supervisors are the best. I’ve learned so much in a short period of time and will be upset when my internship is over because I’m having a blast.
The lesson I learned most out of this situation was not to burn any bridges. I realized that I had let the other sites down really easily, which made it better to ask for a spot in the end. At this point in my career, I don’t have the pull to say no to anyone, so I keep moving along trying to make every possible contact I can.
Arielle Schwalm is a Music Business / Management major interning in Boston for the Fall 2010 semester.
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