“Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat”
Who knew The Beatles could so accurately characterize the morning of my first day as a Music Forward intern? Simply put, I was a chaotic heap of nerves.
Here is an abridged list of my many (debatably irrational) fears:
- Will I set off the door alarm and risk a blaring siren announcing my arrival each day?
- Will my days be an endless cycle of coffee runs?
- Will I leave each day of my internship feeling more confused than when I came in?
Throughout this internship program, I can proudly report that:
- I have not set off the door alarm.
- The only coffee runs I do are for myself.
- My experience as a Music Forward intern has been filled with so many meaningful learning opportunities.
My initial fears about starting my first office-based internship were largely founded in media portrayals of stressed college students delivering dozens of cups of coffee, only making friends with the copy machine, and yielding to the tyrannical orders of a demanding boss. While this portrayal may be the result of cinematic melodrama, my mental picture of corporate internships was not entirely based on fiction. For years, my friends have told me about their internships being clerical nightmares. In summary, I was scared. So, it was to my surprise and delight when I discovered that Music Forward was nothing like the fear-inducing internship folklore I was imagining.
Music Forward’s internship program is designed with experiential learning at its core. On the second day of the internship, the intern team participated in project management training. By the following day, we each dispersed into our respective departments and put this project management training into action. Due to the individualized nature of the Music Forward internship program, I am comforted knowing that my ideas are respected, I can independently drive a project, and I am always welcome to ask questions (which, let’s be honest, is pretty frequent).
While the weeks of my internship have quickly gone by, each day in the office presents new challenges and learning opportunities. Each of my projects has given me the tools to expand my technical skill set and assess my areas for growth.
In working on the annual budget report, I practiced patience and attention to detail in order to balance the expenses. However, I was humbled by my apparently lacking Excel literacy. Acknowledging my room for growth made it even more satisfying when my formulas finally clicked into place.
In developing a state raffle recommendation presentation for the Development team, I learned to synthesize legal information into a digestible, (and hopefully) engaging format. This project taught me that the research phase is not the end; instead, I need to see the big picture of how my research can be transformed into an actionable plan.
Finally, in exploring the challenges of improving diversity in conventional music industry internship models, I have learned how to reach out to people in the industry to assess the challenges of such a large institutional problem. The nature of such an important, yet ambiguous, project has shown me how I can grow as a more creative thinker in order to tackle such challenging questions.
As I continue to learn and grow, you’ll find me asking hundreds of more questions; but if for every question, I learn something valuable, then I have no intention of stopping.