Open Minds and Casual Networks

By Lexi Williams

Upon coming to Elon and learning about the internship program, I was constantly reminded of one thing: always network when you can. I had always assumed that networking was confined to attending networking events (which thankfully, Elon provides plenty of those kinds of opportunities, so please attend). However, last year, I learned that networking actually could be a lot less complicated, and even a bit more casual.

In late December of 2014, I was talking to a long time family friend who is a Broadway producer. We were talking about the upcoming Broadway season. Then, all I said, “I’m hoping to get an internship in New York.” At that point, I was telling anyone who would listen to me about how much I wanted to find an internship in New York, as working in the city (particularly for Broadway) has been one of my biggest dreams since I was fourteen. My friend simply nodded and asked me to send him my resume. Four weeks later, I had an internship. I ended up working for AKA NYC, which is an entertainment advertising agency, whose vast majority of clients are Broadway shows. It was the perfect fit for me. I was able to take the skills I had learned at Elon – creating multimedia content, understanding the public relations and advertising field- and apply them to something I loved so passionately as musical theater. Ultimately, I had a better experience than I could have ever imagined.

I had dreamed of interning in New York City for a long time. By my senior year of high school, I had planned exactly where I was going to intern, and what I was going to do once I was there. If I’m being perfectly honest, AKA wasn’t necessarily on my radar, and I was not keen on the idea of veering away from my plan. In the end, my internship experience went in a completely different direction, and I’m more grateful that it did than I could explain.

When looking and applying for internships, I feel that it’s too easy to get wrapped up in big company names or positions. Through my internship, I learned that it’s best to keep an open mind at all times. I also learned that networking doesn’t necessarily mean handing out business cards to strangers. It can also be something as simple as having a conversation with people you know, who can then help you find options you weren’t even aware existed.

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