Transmissions from the Real World

Sorry for the hiatus in posting, but life post-Paris has been hectic yet slow, engaging yet dragging, but mostly just… not Paris. I can only imagine that anything I post from now on will pale in comparison to the posts from this past semester –rich in photos from exotic locations from around the world and vignettes of my experiences traveling internationally. I categorize my time in Paris as very idyllic and in that, very not real life. So… the transition into my current situation has been slightly jarring. Enter: the real life summer internship.

I am at this point, half-way (GOD, it’s only WEDNESDAY!?) through my third week of my summer internship. I’m a Public Relations Intern at The Castle Group and lets be up front– I know nothing about public relations. Well– I knew nothing. I’m learning– slowly. I figured the publicity work I’d done on campus for student orgs like WRBC or the Rob Players would have appropriately prepared me to work in a real firm. Guess what? I was wrong. I am learning new strategies, techniques, protocalls and research skills every day. But I have to say — it’s hard to ask for help.

So let’s just rewind back to June 6, my first day of work. Could barely move I was so nervous. Accidentally got to my office (which is on the Navy Pier in Charlestown, MA) 45 minutes early. Anxiety was brewing like morning coffee in my stomach and I could feel my chest tighten with each step I took towars the elevator. Yeah, that bad. The first day of any internship or job, I can imagine, has got to suck. I mean, you don’t know what you’re doing, you aren’t familiar with the routine, the staff, the facilities or the tools you’re supposed to use. I was tucked into a corner at a desk and essentially just “familiarized” myself with the clients and a database all day. And didn’t talk to anyone. And when I say all day– I mean it. No one told me “hey we’re having lunch” and I was too freaked out to notice until 4 pm, when I realized, “shoot, I’m really hungry.”

I came home that day pretty bummed. I hadn’t anticipated it to be so hard. I like to put myself into situations that I’m prepared for– to minimize stress and embarrasment. But sometimes… that’s impossible. That night I thought about the decision I’d made about this summer– choosing an unpaid internship (that’s good for my resume) instead of returning to beloved theater day camp where I am worshipped by 9 year olds and dance to top 40 hits all summer. But, I got up the next morning and went to work. That morning happened to be my birthday. I was also still so nervous I failed to tell any of my coworkers about the occasion, and every few minutes when my phone would buzz announcing another wallpost from facebook, I’d shove it in deeper in my bag to try and stifle the noise from the vibration. But, you know what? It got better. They told me when they were all eating lunch! And that was all I needed. From then on, I was less afraid and I tried harder.

I met people. I started remembering names and getting a feel for the office– the dynamics, the schedules, the work. I met the other interns and found  that they were all really nice and helpful. (Though with them, I usually find myself running to catch up. As an English major from Bates, at school I learned “how to learn.” So I know how to write, and now am slowly picking up the specific application of my skills to this career. The other interns, however, are all communications or marketing or PR majors. I think they have a head start…)

I find myself with a purpose now– each morning it’s my job to come in and compile and send out a document of all the news coverage of any of our accounts or their competitors from the past day. I feel entrenched in this grown-up 9-5 (which is really 7:30-6:30 if you include the commute) lifestyle, and you all know how I feel about growing up. (And if you don’t, it’s that I’m scared– I’m really really scared of growing up.)

I will admit that this working girl routine has got me super tired out– my bed time usually falls somewhere around 10:30, unless there exists some extenuating circumstances. It was just such a staggering switch– to go from living this life in Paris that was all about my own life and experiences on my own schedule, to a regimented, business casual full-time job (while living with my parents, no less). But I think that happens anyways– reverse culture shock, right? I was watching an episode of “Covert Affairs” ondemand (please don’t judge my social life or television viewing decisions, I stand by them) that was set in Paris, and each new scene made my heart break a little more. That street corner! It was right by my school. The Louvre! I had class there every Wednesday night! That bakery! They make the best baguette in Montmartre! etc etc. Clearly I left a little bit of me in Paris, but I’m trying to fill myself in with this new, adult, successful and passionate person who sits at her desk each day and is slowly trying to learn everything she can about this big new world.