How I Got Rejected From A Bunch of Lame Internships and Landed One Pretty Cool One

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A lot of summer happened this summer, and I survived, only just barely.  My friends went home, I made new friends, they also went home,  I moved into a new house,  I watched the Lego Movie like five times,  I bought Death Grips tickets, Death Grips broke up, and I cried a lot.  I loved, I lost, I interned.

I went into this summer with a singular goal: Get an internship so I don’t have to take 17 credits the next two semesters in a row to graduate on time.  Internship searching while prepping for finals is one of the worst things I’ve ever tried to do, as evidenced by the borderline suicidal tweets in my archive around that time.  I tend to get final projects instead of tests.  You don’t necessarily have to study for tests, which is a thing I really like about them.  Projects are always a lot of work no matter what, but particularly when you have five of them at once, while writing cover letters and commuting to interviews for jobs you’re not going to get.  That seemed to be what was happening.  I was getting interviews in disgustingly white Philly suburbs, and disgustingly New Jersey Trenton suburbs, and the commute was terrible but whatever, I was desperate.

I didn’t have any luck with that,  I did have luck meeting Rich Wakefield at a Temple Ad Club portfolio review event (seriously, you should go to those things).  Rich, I eventually learned, was a HUGE-time creative director (and kind of a genius) who has worked all over the world, and whose work includes one of my favorite ads of all time (AT&T’s ubiquitous “IDK my BFF Jill” spot).  More recently he had worked on Neiman Group’s Temple Made campaign, but then left when Neiman was purchased.  He soon found D4, a charming little agency in Manayunk, with little great work to speak of, and short staff, but with a great space and in-house production facilities galore.  He set out to build the agency in his image.

He invited me to visit the space and offered me an internship when I did.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was relieved to see my internship search end successfully.  When I went to work I realized why they were so eager to bring interns in.  As a very short-staffed agency, the place was kind of dead when I started.  It lacked a certain energy that came along with more intern hires.  The short staff also meant that the interns were working a bunch of higher level things and were treated almost like full time employees for a bit.

That’s the story of how I got rejected from a bunch of lame internships and landed a pretty cool one.  I ended up getting to do a bunch of really cool work, make several really great friends and contacts, and avoided the summer blues for a month or two at least.  This isn’t really so much advice as much as reassurance that it works out sooner or later.  Just keep pushing until something comes up, and always try to meet people.  And don’t be a jerk.


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