Chapter ONE: Conference Tables, Confidence and Cold Cuts

BY BRYCE STARNER
diary of an intern

Nervously tapping my sleek black fountain pen on the outer edge of my dust ridden laptop and running my fingers across the interweaving wrinkles in my khaki pants, I sat impatiently in the unexpectedly spacious conference room, eagerly awaiting the next patter of footsteps that resonated through the thick glass doors separating me from the lobby area. It was the 16th of May – a date that’s loomed over my head for almost three months. The hellishness of my freshman campaign at Penn State came to a reluctant halt only a week prior, leaving me with a staggering heap of clothes to put away, used textbooks to store in the deepest confines of the attic for God-knows how long, and a summer internship that I had an absolutely ridiculous amount of uncertainty toward. It was as if I was five years old all over again, sitting awkwardly on those disgustingly brown plastic-covered bus seats, helpless and alone on the “yellow fellow” for my first day of elementary school.

Expectations were nonexistent, confidence was seemingly minimal, and the will to prove myself sat like a lead ball in the pit of my stomach. I walked into the do it outdoors media and dio headquarters earlier that morning, already a bit taken back at the glistening midnight charcoal Maserati parked directly outside the main entrance. (That would be one of the boss’s cars.) I smirked, casually sliding my iPhone out of my pocket to snatch a quick picture to send to all of my buddies who were surely still entangled in their sheets and comforters, carrying on with their typical summer routine just as they always have.

The ding of the door alarm caught me off guard and almost made me pee a little (okay, not quite, but I was still walking on pins and needles). I sunk into the cushion of the chair that was holding me together. Before long, I was greeted with a warm smile and a folder chock-full of orientation material and paperwork to fill out prior to day’s end.

It was beyond humbling to shake so many hands and feel their genuine love for the atmosphere. Cliché or not, it was apparent that the whole do it outdoors media/dio cohort embodied “family” and hard work, alike. To most people, being “thrown a little bit of shade” may not be the most favored thing in the world, but I learned quickly that if my new coworkers didn’t tease me, then something clearly wasn’t right!

Even within the first hour or so, I was submerged into an unfathomable abyss of information and the history behind the most prominent beliefs ingrained into their corporate culture. Just because I found myself at a “workplace” by no means acted as an equivalent to a lost sense of humor, an unquenchable thirst for learning, or an obligatory schedule to worship. I mean, any company that caters in lunch on Day 1 wouldn’t just have me hook, line, and sinker, but already filleted, battered, and deep fried, too!

By the way, it’s so hard to scarf down a ham and cheese sandwich when you have five or six people at a time helicoptering around you, anxious to extend a friendly “hello” and offer their time and experience in the ever-changing realm of business. In all honesty, I couldn’t think of a better problem to have. I eventually sneaked off to the bathroom to pick the pesky lettuce strands from my incisors so as to not make a fool out of myself at the afternoon sales roundtable.

Given the fact that it was my first day of “real work” (not that mowing yards and shoveling horse poop aren’t jobs worth taking pride in), I was fairly exhausted come day’s end. Driving home down Interstate 83 with my windows down, singing horrifically to Adele, I couldn’t help but appreciate how special of an opportunity I was given with this internship. More so, I realized how negligent I’ve always been in recognizing how hard my parents work at taking care of my younger brother and me in addition to working 8+ hours a day.

I only had one Monday under my belt, and I was already making a straight shot home to my comfy bed for a power nap and a nice dose of Netflix bingeing.

Please note: No interns (or mobile billboards) were hurt during the writing of this article.

Next up in my adventures: Meeting the other interns!

I’ll be posting a weekly diary of an intern update every Friday. Follow me as I embark on this internship journey!