I wasn’t sure how my interview had gone. I had shown up so eager to begin that I barely took in my surroundings. It was only thanks to GPS that I had reached the office in one piece, and I was trying to look cool and collected despite my nerves.
The whole interview was a bit of a blur, but I remember thinking that the office space was nice when I entered. The air conditioning was a welcome respite from the early June heat, and sunlight spilled through the skylight above me.
My interviewers seemed kind. They offered me water, which I gratefully accepted and tried to sip instead of gulping down. During the interview, I ranged from confident when expressing my ideas to mortified when my solos as part of my college a cappella group were mentioned. I love the group, but I tend to pick apart my performances after the fact, and the idea of my future employers seeing them was…mildly disquieting, but I rolled with it and before I knew it, the interview was over.
As I walked out of Northeast Maglev’s downtown Baltimore office, I tried to calm my nerves. I decided to focus on the positives. It felt like my interview had gone well for the most part. Sure, I tripped on the stairs as I was leaving, and there were a few minor hiccups otherwise, but hopefully my interviewers had appreciated the ideas that I brought to the table. “Anyway, I’ll find out soon enough,” I thought. I could never have imagined then all that I would gain in the months that followed.
Within a week of my interview, I received an offer letter and after accepting the job and exchanging some start paperwork, Monday, June 17th came. My first day.
Three times a week, I came to Baltimore to work as Northeast Maglev’s Summer 2019 Social Media Intern for Northeast Maglev. Three times a week, I buzzed into the office to conduct research, to draft social media posts, to take pictures and film videos, to share laughs with my coworkers and hold brainstorming sessions. And three times a week, I learned.
I learned how much I could stretch the limits of my creativity. I was given the freedom to assign myself many of my own projects as I explored the world of social media marketing. It was amazing how many times I would think of the next thing I wanted to do and when I discussed it with my supervisors they would say, “we were thinking the same thing.” It helped me to gain confidence in my instincts and encouraged me to share my ideas. It was a challenge to think of worthwhile content consistently, but I’m proud of what I’ve done.
I learned how valuable an internship experience can be. This was my first internship, and in some regards I’m glad that it was, but I’m also slightly nervous that I started here, because this will be a tough act to follow. I have had the pleasure to work with a great team, doing work that interests me and pertains to my studies while being compensated for my time. Through my research of the project and its related fields of transportation and environmental policy and action, I am more informed as a result of this internship, as well. It’s hard to realistically imagine a first internship that could have been a better fit for me.
I learned just how dirty a look can get when you take a candid photo of someone. Part of my job was to document the various excursions the interns experienced, which included canvassing in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, visiting the Baltimore Museum of Industry and Baltimore’s Top of the World Viewpoint, and more. I gained a reputation for popping up next to my coworkers moments before they heard the infamous click of the Nikon that I wielded like a sword. Needless to say they weren’t always enamored of that, but they never held it against it me. Well, at least not that I know of.
In addition to the lessons I learned, I was fortunate enough to work on projects that engaged me. One of my favorite projects was my initial report on our social media accounts. It involved reviewing information about our social media including how frequently we posted, what kind of content we posted, and how many followers we had. Once I had collected and analyzed that information, I concluded the report with recommendations for how we could improve our social media image and practices. It set the tone for my internship as a chance to try new things and constantly evaluate where the company had come from and where we wanted to try to go.
When I first started the internship, I did not expect to have as much freedom and control over the social media content as I did, but even though I was overwhelmed at first, I was ecstatic. I truly got a peek into what the life of a social media manager is like. There were times when I was placed in charge of a project with the other interns and it was nice to gain some experience as a leader in the workplace. It requires that you build on skills that you develop as a leader in a school setting.
I’m most proud that as of August, our top performing Facebook post is a video that I filmed during my second week with Northeast Maglev in June, that the Instagram following increased by more than 75% during my tenure as the social media intern, and for serving as the initial point of contact between Northeast Maglev and the coordinators of the 10th Annual Sustainability Fair at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC.
After this internship, I feel more comfortable with my overarching understanding of how goal setting works, how to collaborate in the workplace to complete projects and how to turn feedback into actionable steps. As I continue my studies and move into my career, I will know what to look for in a workplace, so that it serves my needs and interests. This experience made me more introspective, and now I know to check in with myself and evaluate my own progress and how my goals align with the goals of my workplace. For that, I am grateful.
It has been an unforgettable summer. Thank you, Northeast Maglev.