I had no idea what to expect when it came to spending my summer in the hustle and bustle of New York City. I had only ever been to the city for touristy weekend trips with my mom and aunt — when we would catch Broadway shows and act like we didn’t mind the body-to-body crowdedness of Times Square (let’s be real). When I got the news that I was selected for an internship in digital media production at Showtime Networks – whose headquarters is located just steps away from where the ball drops every New Year’s Eve – I was both incredibly excited and a little bit nervous.
I just finished my internship on Friday, August 3, and I have to say that this summer was better than anything I could have imagined. I learned so much – both inside and outside of work and grew in both my experiences and relationships. I know that New York is a popular internship location, especially for Bellisario College of Communications majors, so hopefully this list of things I’ve learned from interning in NYC can be helpful to anyone who may be looking to make a venture to the Big Apple next summer.
Housing Is Important
Once you know you’re going to be in NYC for the summer, immediately start looking for housing options. I’d even look into it before you know for sure if you’ll be there. I lived in the NYU dorms this summer and got really lucky to get a nice, suite-style dorm with a kitchen and a bathroom. This nice living arrangement made my experience so much better – I had enough space and was able to cook my own meals. While everyone has different living styles, make sure you look right away for what you want. The housing is NOT CHEAP and you don’t want to end up paying for a place you aren’t comfortable living in. With that being said…
Apply for grants
Penn State has a lot of grant money available for different experiences and internships. Like I said, living in New York is extremely expensive and depending on your internship, you might not be making a ton of money. Apply for as many grants and funding opportunities as possible – you have nothing to lose, and there’s a chance you could end up getting money that will majorly support your time in the city.
Money is spent so easily
There’s a theme here, I know. It is truly wild how crazy the difference in cost of living is between State College and New York City. Going out to dinner or drinks is expensive enough, not to mention the money that will inevitably be spent on all of the cool places and events that NYC has to offer. I had to really learn this summer how to spend my money wisely and be reasonable when it came to what I wanted to do and was feasibly able to do.
It’s okay to say no to things…
Being in New York will give you the feeling that you have to be doing something fun and exciting all the time. I mean you don’t want to have FOMO, right? I definitely felt this way in the beginning, but I soon realized that it was okay to take some days and just relax and not feel guilty about being lazy. My wallet definitely thanked me for this, as did my tired body and brain after my eight-hour work days.
…but time flies, so take advantage.
Even though I did take lazy days, I learned quickly how quickly time flies by, so I knew that I had to make the most of my days. I did as much as possible within financial reason – musicals, plays, comedy shows, a boat ride, biking Central Park, dinners and more. I also found that there is literally always something exciting going on in NYC, so sometimes the most fun days were the ones spent walking around and stumbling upon random things (with no money spent!).
Work as hard as you can
If you get an internship in New York, make sure you put in your absolute 100% effort. As with any internship in any city, you will most likely be working with some very impressive people – both the other interns and the current employees of the company. I learned that I needed to pack in as much as I could within my eight-week internship experience to really make an impression, and this involved a lot of research, question asking, and…
I cannot stress enough how important I found networking to be this summer. If you are working in a communications-type job, like I was, then it’s all about who you know and who you get to know. I set up meeting upon meeting, coffee date upon coffee date with executives in Showtime, and these conversations led me to realizations and knowledge that I never would have found otherwise. Then make sure to keep a list of contacts made, and be sure to hit them up on LinkedIn afterwards.
Two months is enough to meet people who will change you
I made invaluable connections and created both personal and professional relationships this summer in NYC that will last me for a long time. I think it’s easy to believe that since you are only in your position for a few weeks, it will be hard to create long-lasting bonds. This is so NOT true. Especially in the entertainment industry, which is a lot smaller than it seems to be, these connections may turn up again in the strangest of places. I learned that it’s important to just be open to others, and some really interesting people could enter your life.