I am no stranger to the New York City commute. Throughout high school, I commenced each weekday by catching the 6:27 AM train from Port Washington, Long Island to Penn Station, followed by the C train up to the 86th street, and finally ended my hour-long morning trek with the cross-town bus through Central Park.
At 13 years old, this had the potential to be terribly overwhelming (visit Penn Station during the morning rush hour and you’ll see what I mean!). Luckily, I had the supervision of a thoughtful and caring older brother to guide me until I felt comfortable making the trip on my own. In fact, it soon became a daily occurrence I welcomed, as it presented me the opportunity to work, read, and yes – more often than not – catch up on sleep.
Needless to say, when it came time to begin my summer internship at STARKMAN, what for many is a source of stress and confusion had already become second nature to me. Where the anxiety crept in, however, is with the unknown that often comes with any new experience: What types of assignments will I be given? What will my colleagues be like? How do I DO this?!
One of my first tasks was to set up “Google Alerts” on my email in order to stay current and up-to-date on the latest news of one client’s industry (something I quickly learned was essential in the PR world); this resulted in a series of complicated terms and acronyms that I had, quite honestly, never even heard of before. But, the confusion didn’t stop there; I was debriefed on all of STARKMAN’s clients, given an outline on how to do “media monitoring,” and was asked to draft tweets, Facebook posts, and judiciously choose news stories for a client I was unfamiliar with – all on the first day! (Fear not, STARKMAN clients, I was under the very watchful eye of the entire team there. Nothing went unvetted!)
The initial fear and feeling of “Yikes – I have no idea what I’m doing!” was immediately assuaged, however, by the supportive and patient STARKMAN staff, who instantly embraced me as part of their team – and I soon began to see parallels between the experience I had commuting with my brother, and my summer internship experience at STARKMAN; just as my brother served as a buffer against a potentially chaotic commute, the STARKMAN team acted as a guide in this new environment by urging me to ask questions and assisting me in acquiring the acumen and insight necessary to become comfortable and confident with my routine and responsibilities.
It didn’t take long until I was fully immersed – and feeling more at ease – in the fast-paced, dynamic business of PR, being introduced to reporters, attending client meetings and conference calls, mastering social media (I am now an official Twitter-er!), creating media lists, and learning how to write a press release, in addition to helping to strategize and draft blog posts.
Over the course of the internship, I not only became comfortable with my daily tasks, but also developed an appreciation for the various industries that STARKMAN’s clients represent. In particular, I garnered a unique passion for the housing and real estate market and can proudly say that, not only am I familiar with the latest data and trends regarding the sector, but I’m also acquainted with myriad, related government policies and initiatives I previously knew little, if anything, about.
I even developed a newfound appetite for cupcakes (who would have thought?!), thanks to the weekly “Cupcake Thursdays,” in addition to “Friday Lunches” that STARKMAN generously sponsored – both of which solidified the bond I was developing with my colleagues, as we ooh-ed and aah-ed over the endless assortment of cupcakes and wide variety of food options that the city is famous for.
So, while I bid New York adieu for the time being, and am excited to return to Holy Cross for my senior year, I can say wholeheartedly that I will miss the colleagues whom I will be forever indebted to for making my internship such a memorable and enjoyable learning experience. Thank you for your kindness, patience, and words of wisdom; thank you for the cupcakes, lunches, and countless laughs; but, most importantly, thank you for making my summer commute into the city so worthwhile.