Early in the summer upon my arrival I picked up a baby succulent plant in a little terra cotta pot and placed it next to my night stand as, essentially, the only item of decor in my empty sub-letted Philly space. That plant would be the first thing I saw every morning upon waking up and I would sprinkle some water on it every few weeks when it was looking a little shriveled (just trying to be a good plant owner and stuff). But, by the end of my time in Philly the succulent that once was a little blossom the size of a quarter was bursting out the sides of the pot and tilting to one side as though it was longing to be re-planted into something with a little more space. It had grown so much and I didn't even realize it. It got me thinking about about my time on the East Coast and my internship with Anthropologie; how I felt I probably had a lot in common with my succulent and had grown in ways that had been subtle and gradual, but all together created a new edition of myself that is ready to be re-planted.
Although you never realize how much you change throughout the course of any experience it is inevitable that you will grow in ways that you may not even realize until you step back into your ordinary life with new lenses on. I didn't do much writing throughout the summer because i wanted to immerse myself fully in the moment. However, now that my summer as an Anthropologie Home Office intern has come to a close (sad face), I feel like I am finally beginning to process all that happened!
1. People, People, everywhere! This summer I was definitely due for a dip into a fresh pool of new faces that were going to reshape my world in the best of ways. My experience at URBN was undoubtedly the perfect pool to swim through. I lived in a house with 5 other interns who all had different backgrounds, personalities, relationships, hobbies, and accents (ha!). It's so rewarding to hang with a diverse group of people and connect in the fact that you are all there for the same reason; to grow and to be inspired! Not only was there a wide range of personalities in our home, but in the office and all around the city, too! There something special about everyone being a transplant; it makes you need and lookout for each other more.
2. The Work World. Perhaps my experience is unique since URBN is an exceptionally creative and nurturing environment. However, I never expected to walk into a big internship with only a handful of experience and feel so...comfortable! It seems like it was always ingrained into us in school that if we don't approach life rigidly we are doomed for the cardboard box life. This summer I learned that although having an education is a wonderful gift, your opportunities in the real world are often weighed more upon mentorship, drive, and passion! It's good to get an essay done and complete all of your to-do lists promptly, but it's even more important to find that raw passion that drives your purpose and develops organically! I was surrounded by great mentors during my internship experience with Anthro who believed in my passion to be involved creatively and were supportive leaders in the process. That is what I found is really bringing people forward. No anxiety necessary! Be yourself, be curious, and (most of the time) the rest will follow suit. I was lucky to have been surrounded by all of the creative opportunity and uplifting people at Home Office.
3. Choosing Creativity. Part of an internship is learning about what it is you are good at and enjoy doing. Through my experiences working with product merchandising and e-commerce I realized that as much as I loved learning about how to run a company online, i really missed the element of being able to create, too. My mentors acknowledged this and encouraged me to do a creative intern project and connect with some of the more creative areas of the business in the execution of the idea. This summer I learned that creativity will always have to be a part of my life and path. It's my fuel. I loved that my mentors and the internship program were so supportive of this and that they genuinely wanted the interns to learn about whatever was making their heart beat.
4. The World is Your Oyster and I'm Not Just Being Cheesy. This summer was my first time to ever move to a large city by myself and I couldn't have been more ready to settle in and explore. Philadelphia, the birth place of our country, is so rich with American history and landmarks. Philly is also a short ride away from New York City. All my life I would always fantasize about being the girl who reads in central park, walks through museums, and makes eye contact with a cute guy on the subway. Unfortunately, the only eye contact I made on the subway was with a few odd balls of the city, but it was fun to have authentic cultural experiences and soak in the richness of New York's creative scene. Living up east, there is always something to see, a new restaurant to try, or an exhibit to go check out. If simply living on the East Coast is an inspirational breathe of fresh air,I can't imagine everything else the world has to offer. This summer has made we want to keep exploring and embrace that there are no boundaries. Where to next?
5. Investing in The People Who Stick By Your Side. With so many amazing interns being in the same city at the same time, you can only imagine how many plans are made on the weekends. With my sometimes introverted tendencies this was incredibly overwhelming at times, especially because I also have the tendency to want to be a good friend to all and say "yes" to everything; you end up letting people down somewhere down the line when this becomes a habit. After about a month in Philly I started learning that you can't focus on all the opportunities you miss out on with great people, you have to distribute your time and energy into the people who are investing their time and love into you, also! Jumping in on all of the action is always fun, but but for me, having that handful of go-to people I was able to grow a firm relationship with and be pushed by was really special and important!
6. Expressing Gratitude. It is easy to get so immersed in the steps you are taking forward that you sometimes forget to stop and think about how lucky you are to be around the people you are with or how fortunate you are to be you and have all that you have. This summer I was challenged to to exercise a muscle of gratitude in both my friendships and in life. The second you start zooming out on life and looking at how fortunate we are, that's when it starts to get really inspiring.
So much love to all of my fellow interns, mentors, recruiters, and friends for taking on this summer with me! xox.