Internships, Networking, Blizzards: Oh My!

This will be my third internship with Hollins, my second big city blizzard (one in NYC and now in D.C.), and my umpteenth opportunity for networking thanks to HU.

Doesn’t a whole weekend snowed in give you so much time to think? Well that, and to Netflix, to eat, to catch up on work, and to stay in pajamas for three days straight.

It’s the thinking that’s new this J-Term. I mean, really thinking. If I had to diagnose it, I would say that my upcoming graduation has put several things into focus this year. Why did I think my last January Short Term would be any different?

All the same, here I am. Thankful for the ongoing electricity and for all of the amazing experiences I’ve had during my January months with Hollins.

This month I’ve been completing some assignments for a professor in our Communication Studies department – you know, to show some academic work went into these weeks in D.C. Tonight, I finished up my third weekly report and had the chance to relay some of my experiences and conversations about networking while at my internship.

My internship is fabulous by the way – a whole month with the DACOR Bacon House. Located only two blocks from the White House, this house built in 1825 holds artifacts from around the globe, brought back by current and former Foreign Service Officers, Ambassadors, and State Department officials. DACOR is a non-profit membership organization that promotes thoughtful discussion and networking between its well-travelled members.

I’ve met former Ambassadors and worked across the table from two of my favorite pieces in the House: an elephant foot umbrella stand (apparently shot by Teddy Roosevelt) and a photo of a meeting in the 1940s between several important officials and heads of state. Signed by FDR and Churchill as they sit side by side in the stately frame.

What’s been equally as amazing though, have been the people I’ve had the chance to work with and get to know. The conversations I’ve had at DACOR have been invaluable, for several different reasons – not the least of which has been realizing how comfortable I am networking with and discussing networking amongst these people.

Before my internship experiences with Hollins I had thought of networking as this huge, scary professional necessity one had to master in order to ‘make it’ in life. Whatever that means.

What I’ve had the pleasure of learning as I interned with The Estée Lauder Companies and with DACOR and every other encounter I’ve had with professionals in and outside of my industry thanks to Hollins, is that networking can be the most comfortable thing in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous as ever and in constant worry that I’ve misstepped, but I can now officially declare that networking is something I’m comfortable with.

This January I’ve been trying to read two books that promote healthy perspectives to take on connecting with people professionally and really getting the most out of networking.

Some of the information is new and enlightening, and both authors are skilled at what they do. However, I’ve been realizing the more I read that all of my networking attempts through and with Hollins have intrinsically placed me ahead of the game. I already know the way each self-help book will end, what the big secret is to be revealed.

Connecting with people at a deeper level than a simple ‘Hello’ means building a network of people that matter and who will actually help you in your professional journey.

I’m comfortable with networking because with Hollins I’ve had practice unlocking this big networking secret.

Even in the smallest ways, Hollins connects us all.