While the blazing sun had me helplessly wrapped around its finger for two months, this summer has been a pivotal juncture for me – it was the first time my college experience came into contact with the reputed “real world.” I have been extremely lucky enough to land a project this summer and work in tandem with a collaborative team that relentlessly motivates me to grow. With one year of college under my belt, I have been able to apply the social and occupational skills that I’ve accrued through college in a different atmosphere of professionalism. Here, my team encouraged me to explore my role as a Marketing Intern, giving me a flexibility that allowed me to be unapologetically creative and innovative with the material that I produce. Thus, I’ve forayed into various arenas of marketing: coding a blogging website for a startup, overlooking the activity of four different social media platforms, compiling information for project pitches, assembling a press kit, constructing a storyboard for the promotional video, and much more. Indeed, as stimulating as the experience was, it was no walk in the park. At the end of the day, however, each member supported me by giving constructive criticism on the product being made. Perhaps more importantly than crystallizing my career skills, I have found valuable relationships with my team beyond the mere coworker status. Nabbing a seat in the crowded cafes of Korea, we grabbed coffee on the weekends and had long tete-a-tete about movies, marriage, clothes, and relationships. Granted, the “real world” experience that I encountered this summer does not come close to what “real world” actually entails. In regards to working in a professional setting, however, I certainly got a taste of what the 9-to-5 grind feels like and what it is like to publish work that actually matters and can make a difference.

The team that learns together, stays together

     Along with the growth of my skills as a teammate, this summer has been a time of self-reflection and inspiration. Being surrounded by people of great ambition induced me to constantly gauge where my aspirations lie and what contributions I would like to offer to the table. How can I combine my passion for the human brain and my skills to accomplish a feat that can hopefully serve as a boon to the community? What can I do to leave the world a better place than I have found it? Fortunately, I have been blessed with the gift of having amazing people around me who help me strive for the better. My friends (s/o to Suite 600, Sarah, Indira and Yasmin) and family keep me grounded, motivate me to put on my A game at all times, and constantly push me to never settle for anything less. My mentors have taught me countless of lessons that run the gamut from tiny tidbits of wardrobe advices to sage life counsel that I will carry with me throughout my lifetime – like how to be frugal at a convenient store and how loyalty can be a double-edge sword in the work arena.

With the team that has given me an invaluable summer experience…much love 🙂

     At the onset of summer, a standout woman once asked me, “Can I tell you something?” to which I replied, “Sure thing.” She, then, told me, “I would absolutely love for you to be my one person for whom I would do anything to help you grow.” The feeling that I felt when I received that message is ineffable and unforgettable. Little did she know, at the moment, she planted a small sprout of inspiration in me that gave me the assurance that someone out there was rooting for me and supporting my growth as a student, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a woman. I owe it to her to do the best I can to be the best possible version of who I am. (Oddly enough, this incredible lady is a JHU alum and everyone needs to find a way to meet this amazing person!)

Andddd the Esquire Squad! My seoul sister and my mentor

     Now, as I am sitting here, typing away at my computer about the unbridled hopes and dreams that I have, I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to ignite a similar spark of motivation in someone else and ask him/her the same question: “Can I tell you something?”

Home is where the heart is <3