Posts Tagged ‘Instagram’

My First Internship: How I Got Paid to Eat Gourmet NYC Food

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

As I entered my sophomore year at NYU, I was feeling pressure to get an internship. I had spent the summer working in a restaurant in my hometown, collecting tips and saving them all for my semester abroad. While this was a perfectly normal and productive way to spend my first summer at college, I still worried that I was inadequate compared to my NYU peers who interned for hedge funds or theater companies. 

I came into Welcome Week sophomore year determined to land my first internship (or on-campus job). I was in the weeds trying to figure out work-study when an upperclassmen friend of mine posted in our sorority Facebook group about a job opportunity in public relations. My friend, Chehak, edited and polished my resume, then gave it to the PR company with her glowing recommendation. After a fairly straightforward phone interview, I was offered the job. I realize now that this experience is like an actor saying they landed the gig on their first audition—it would never happen again.

My Instagram story from my last day in the office

I dressed up for my first day but was surprised to find my supervisor wearing a flowy maxi dress and flip-flops. The office was in WeWork Williamsburg. I was amazed by WeWork, with beer on tap, fancy snacks, and trendy couches where people seemed to be lounging and working simultaneously. Huge windows poured light onto the coworking tables. The offices didn’t even have walls—just windows. It was a modern start-up world, completely different from any New York office I had seen in the movies.   

My position was at RVD Communications, a boutique public relations firm. Most of our clients were NYC restaurants and bars. I didn’t realize at the time how great I had it with this internship—I got paid weekly, including an unlimited monthly MetroCard, and I got to attend press and influencer events at some of the best restaurants in the city. I worked 15 hours a week, including a full day on Fridays. 

The best part of the job was working with my fellow interns, two NYU students who would become some of my closest friends. Each Friday, the three of us would claim one of the restaurant-style booths in the WeWork common space and spend the day there, giggling and sharing stories about the frat boys we were hoping to see that weekend while creating Pages presentations for the account leaders to present to clients.

A delicious churro I sampled while working an event at a Times Square food market

Many of New York’s food holiday markets are run by the same company, Urbanspace, which was one of our clients. I found the Bryant Park Holiday Market by accident my freshman year when I went to the New York Public Library to study. I was enchanted by this little world full of lights, art, hot chocolate, and lots and lots of food. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when my fellow interns and I were asked to work a press and influencer event at the opening weekend of the Bryant Park Holiday Market. For these types of events, we invited journalists and Instagram influencers to come to the market, take pictures, and write articles. Our job as interns was to track mentions of our clients on Instagram and online publications. At the event, however, we were given press passes and allowed to roam the market, trying dishes from every stall. We pretended to be influencers, taking photos and videos with our Belgian fries, mozzarella sticks, and Korean-style tacos. Even though I did not end up pursuing a career in PR, I am so grateful for my experiences in the industry. I learned how to speak up for myself in a professional environment and how to balance interning with schoolwork. Best of all, I got to eat some great food.

Tips: On finding your first internship and being successful in the workplace

  • Reach out to upperclassmen you know from class or the clubs you are involved with. Upperclassmen can become great mentors and great friends.
  • Don’t be picky. You are trying to get experience working in a professional environment in New York City. That experience could be in a variety of fields. I didn’t expect to work in public relations, but I ended up having a great time.
  • When communicating with your new supervisor(s), be clear about your work and school boundaries. Constantly evaluate whether you are working the right amount of hours for your major, class schedule, and extracurricular involvement.

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By Marisa Bianco

Marisa graduated from NYU in May 2020, summa cum laude, with degrees in International Relations and Spanish. She grew up in Nebraska, but she is currently living in Córdoba, Spain, where she works as an English teacher. You can find her eating tapas in the Spanish sun while likely stressing about finding her life’s purpose.

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