In two short semesters, I’ve learned more about life and living than I ever have before. This journey has even led me to my greatest accomplishment to date, but I’ll start from the beginning:
Working with VH1 (which has since become VH1 + Logo TV) was not just my first internship in the city. It was my first encounter with the hustle and bustle of Times Square. It was my first attempt at navigating a subway system. It was my first contemplation of “How the hell am I going to afford the monthly Long Island commute!?” My internship experience brought on the first of many things.
I come from a small, rural town hidden by trees and tractors in Western Massachusetts. My only experience with traffic came from cows and horses blocking the roads. I was 14 years old when I got my first job as a farmhand, where I would chop tobacco leaves and hang them in barns. Life for me was small and simple. Well, until I moved to New York.
I still replay my first day with VH1 like an episode of a beloved reality TV show. I was humbled by everything and everyone. The Viacom building was both inviting and intimidating. Was I really about to step inside the company home of Spongebob Squarepants, Amy Schumer, Flavor Flav, and God knows how many Teen Moms? Again, like back at home, I felt small.
I met my new bosses, who I would grow to love and admire for their remarkable PR talents, and quickly began working. Admittedly, my first day was slightly overwhelming. After my shift had ended, I left crying. These were not tears of sadness, though. These were tears of happiness. I had the absolute privilege of working in the heart of Times Square, admiring views from many floors above and seeing firsthand what my future could hold. People dream of having this experience and I was lucky enough to turn my dream into reality.
As time went on, I grew to be more comfortable with both my employers and my skill sets. I was learning to draft press releases, update content to our press site, compile news clippings, create coverage reports and tune-in alerts, and pitch media outlets. I know these tasks don’t sound all that glamorous, but to public relations majors, these are the things we get excited about. Of course, other forms of glamor existed too. You know, the star-studded, VIP, open bar, personal car service kind of glamor. I had a number of opportunities to work with talent, attend after-party events and experience life as someone much higher than the low-income college student who was constantly asking herself, “Can I afford to add toppings to this baked potato?”
If there’s anything I have learned about working with talent, it’s that they’re all just people too. Yeah, I met Hozier, but his real name is Andrew and like anyone else, he’s nervous about doing and saying the wrong things. He’s a really great guy. Elle King is honest, hardworking and happy to spend time with anyone who can make her laugh. People are just people. Once I realized that, I focused less on my pre-conceived notions and focused on meeting the person behind the media-made mask.
The more I accomplished, the more I was allowed to dip my toes into. It’s a wonderful feeling to be depended on and appreciated. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for the world.
Here’s where things got interesting:
About three weeks ago, I gave my notice to my team. The semester wold soon be coming to an end and I needed to head back home to my small and simple life. A few days later, I was given an offer I could not refuse. That offer of course, was a full-time summer position with the company as a “VH1 + Logo Project Freelancer.” Now, I have never allowed fear to dictate my future, but I was terrified. As a junior in college, I was being offered a position that I would have been lucky to get as a graduating senior. I took a few days worth of deep breaths and finally threw all caution to the wind.
Last Friday was my last day as a VH1 + Logo intern. I will soon be returning as a VH1 + Logo Project Freelancer, living 20 minutes from Times Square in an apartment that couldn’t be a better fit for me. It still doesn’t feel real. As my university mentor put it, “You’re a unicorn story. This doesn’t happen to just anyone.”
So I’ll say it again. My internship brought on the first of many things, which now include my first apartment and my first REAL job. I could never put into words how grateful I am for this entire experience. I work with a team of people who trust and care for me. They have become my family and I owe them so much more than I can offer (at the moment, at least.) I work in a place where I get to read and produce content about pop culture and hit TV shows. I get to have fun AND get paid. Who knew those two things could pair together??
I can’t wait to continue on this journey. This post may have been a long one, but my story is just beginning.