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Before college, I only knew internships as a fun buzzword that Type A characters threw around in TV shows, or related them to whatever Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada was. That concludes my then-knowledge of internships.

So I was pretty bewildered last year when seemingly everyone around me was feverishly updating resumes and writing cover letters and asking their friend’s friend’s parents if they had any connections. I was left in the dark.

So I took baby steps.

I made a LinkedIn (because it was something to do during my Intersession class), made a big girl resume (because neatly listing my accomplishments was a great ego boost), and drafted a cover letter (because that was an unavoidable, necessary evil). I thought I had all my ducks in a row to do this whole internship thing, even if I was late to the game and still a little clueless.

I got myself up to speed and did my research. I sent all my info out to a bunch of different places: ad agencies! Marketing agencies! Satellite radio companies! TV networks! Media conglomerates! A start-up that is kind of like Airbnb!

Despite me being tardy to the internship party, and throwing my information at a crazy array of companies, I got some leads! A few different places reached out to me and I exchanged super professional emails and had a bunch of phone and Skype interviews. I was so hopeful.

But then, one by one, the follow-ups trickled in. Sorry, we’ve decided to choose the other candidate. I felt like I was being homewrecked—who is she?! Who is this girl who you think is better than me? I felt weirdly wronged. But! I had one last opportunity. My contact seemed excited about my work and set up a Skype interview with her supervisor. Bingo: the big leagues. Here we go. One week until summer and I don’t have firm plans. Let’s do this.

But then despite me rocking the Skype interview and sounding relatable by admitting that I spend a lot of time watching YouTube makeup tutorials, they picked that other candidate. Who is this Other Person because seriously? They need to back off.

Dejected, I shot off a few other Hail Mary applications to Baltimore-area companies. Then, because my life ruled purely by serendipity, I got a lead at one of them. And long story short, I am now a Digital Marketing Intern at Groove for the fall semester!

groove storefrontgroove cafe

Groove is a marketing agency located in the Little Italy/Harbor East area of Baltimore. I go in twice a week, and it’s so nice to step off campus and be in the heart of the city. I’ve gotten some really awesome tasks, too: writing copy for a client’s website, creating graphics, making social media posts, forming spreadsheets for a client’s inventory, conducting research for a client. I love that I can get my hands dirty with all different kinds of marketing, since I’m not 100% sure what I want to do yet. Though my hunches have kind of been confirmed: no to numbers and spreadsheets, yes to visual media and words. Still, great exposure and experience to have.

The place is too cool for words. It’s located in a renovated spring factory, so there are all kinds of industrial touches and exposed beams and whatnot. Occasionally there are Nerf gun fights, and one time someone set off an airhorn?? There’s also a photobooth. The CEO is also really into music, so there’s constantly fantastic music playing. On my first day, Hozier, Amy Winehouse, and Outkast played back-to-back-to-back. It made me feel at home.

Completing this internship is such a great experience and resume builder, and it also counts towards my major (!!!!!). All Film and Media Studies students are required to complete a capstone, either an independent project or an internship. So I’m knocking out a huge major requirement while getting experience in an industry that I’ll likely work for post-grad. Boom.

Internships used to be this scary source of anxiety in my life. Last semester, my life felt ruled by them. But they don’t need to be a monster. I didn’t get the prestigious summer internship of my dreams, and that’s totally okay. Of course a lot of it is my fault—I really was relatively late to the game and I was kind of clueless about the whole process. But I also had to remember that it’s partly a game of chance, and a game of nepotism, and a game of everything else that rules the real world. Life lesson: check.

It was hard to watch some of my friends feigning adulthood in glamorous NYC over the summer. But I now recognize that missing out on one summer internship isn’t going to completely derail my life. And it isn’t a competition; I now have a sweet gig at Groove that makes me feel happy and professional and excited about my career goals. So, keeping with the train metaphors, I feel like I’m on the right track.