Hello, Junior Year

BLOG, college, Lil Life Updates

So my junior year of college starts tomorrow, and thinking about it makes me want to hurl. Like I know everyone says college flies by, but seriously how did this happen so fast? I haven’t experienced a fall semester since freshman year since I spent last year running around Disney, so I feel like my time has gone by even faster than I thought. It’s crazy to be sitting here getting organized for the first day of classes, knowing that at this time next year, it will be my last time. I love growing up, but now I’m just wishing time would stop.

Looking forward to this year, I have a lot of amazing opportunities coming my way. I am finally *finally* back to only taking 15 credit hours per semester, which will be a huge sigh of relief after spending the past few overloaded with 18-20. This semester specifically, I’ll be focusing on my minor, mass communications, which I recently declared. With this extra time on my hands, I’ll be able to focus on leading the best dang Her Campus chapter the world has ever seen (hopefully).

I also have an exciting new internship in store. I will be starting work with an agency in Ivanhoe Village, called Six, and I’ll be doing all sorts of fun things with them. From social media to PR writing to event planning- you name it! I’ll be gaining experience in both of my fields and combining all of my interests.

As much as I wish I could press the pause button on this semester, I already know it’s going to fly by. I’m really excited for all that’s happening in the next few months, and I can’t wait to share all the adventures along the way.

Until next time,

xoxo,

 

What Really Happened During My Summer Internship

BLOG, college, orlando

“How would you describe your LEAD Internship to a friend?” I was asked by my coworker who sat behind a large camera. As I leaned back in the large chair that overlooked our resort’s 75,000 square foot pool from the presidential suite, I finally took it all in. How do I even begin to describe one of the most eclectic experiences of my life so far? For starters, I’m being interviewed by a film crew for a promotional video, in addition to jumpstarting my acting career by poorly recreating some of my favorite memories of the summer. Who else can say they spent their last week at work doubling as a movie-star-in-training? But it’s just one of the many, many, many hats I was fortunate enough to wear this summer during my program. My time at The Fountains was short, but the memories I made will last a long time.

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Ever since I began my path in the hospitality industry, I knew I wanted to focus onthe tourism industry. I wanted to harbor that excitement one feels when embarking on a vacation and keep that momentum going forever. Specifically, I knew I wanted to work at a resort. Yet I was always posed the question “What part of the lodging industry do you want to work in? What do you want to do at a resort?” and that’s where I always drew a blank. I knew I wanted to work in such an uplifting and exciting environment, but I never knew what specifically I wanted to do there.

When it came time to start searching for summer internships early last winter, I stumbled across the Bluegreen Vacation LEAD Internship. It was a company I never heard of, so I decided to read further about what it was. “Through hands-on training and mentorship with resort staff, interns will participate in comprehensive rotations focusing on operational procedures, advanced systems, and customer service across a range of disciplines including guest services, food & beverage, resort maintenance, housekeep, resort activities, and more”. So basically I had the opportunity to spend the summer trying out anything and everything involved in making the resort run, in order to find what I really enjoyed the most. It was the perfect program for me to finally have an answer to the question of what I wanted to do at resorts.

LEAD

After rounds and rounds of interviews, I was accepted to be one of the two interns at The Fountains resort in Orlando, and I was beyond excited. As summer came around, I was expecting to begin my rotations, and just spend a week doing work in each department. To my surprise, this internship was so much more than just doing work.

On Day 1 we were given a binder with all of the departments we would be shadowing during the program. What I didn’t expect to see in the binder were all the learning elements that we were able to participate in. After coming from an internship where I basically did manual labor for minimum wage, I wasn’t really expecting anything crazy, but just seeing that we had the opportunity to learn while we were here made me so excited.

Each week, we would take on the role of a different department, doing a mix of hands-on work, shadowing managers, and learning the behind the scenes of what makes each operation successful. In addition, we had weekly meetings with our mentor, the resort’s assistant general manager, to talk about both our experiences in the program, as well as the department’s strengths and weaknesses that could be adjusted. I like to call this part of the internship my experience as an Undercover Boss, because we were able to see each department with fresh eyes, and help the resort leadership team fix any errors that they might not have even noticed.

We also were able to participate in weekly video conference calls with the 10 other interns located at Bluegreen properties all over the country to compare and contrast our experiences. During these calls, we were able to network with each other, take classes on Timeshare 101 and Financial Acumen, as well as have inciteful Q&A sessions with the company’s executive members, creating amazing opportunities across the board.

Additionally, we were tasked with creating a capstone project highlighting three ways the resort could enhance the guest’s experience. Over the course of the summer, we were able to pinpoint problem areas and figure out ways to find a solution, in order to better the company as well as better ourselves. At the end of the program, we presented to all of the resorts leaders, as well as the regional manager, and the company’s learning and development team. It was an incredible experience to have my ideas heard and praised, and I look forward to seeing if they’ll be implemented in the near future.

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This internship program was more than just a job where I went to work, did my tasks, and went home. The LEAD Program quickly became the biggest surprise of my young 20-year-old life, as I was able to grow so much in 11 weeks, and open so many doors to my future. I was constantly asked by friends and family what I was doing and how I was enjoying it, and it was just so hard to put my joy into words, so I hope this does the trick.

I was amazed by how welcome I felt every time I stepped on the property. As I rotated through the 9 different departments, I was able to meet almost every employee that worked there, and they always made sure to say hi and talk to me after I moved on to the next rotation. The maintenance department was the best, as they would always greet me with “Good Morning Boss!”, and it went straight to my head. The goal of Bluegreen Vacations is to “share happiness”, and after a shaky few months of not knowing whether or not hospitality was the right field for me, I can confidently say that I am more than happy in this industry, and I thank everyone at the Fountains for helping me feel confident in this role.

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Don’t worry, this isn’t the end of my Bluegreen journey! Next summer I will be going back to The Fountains for a second internship, but this one will focus on one department the whole program. I will learn a more in-depth view of the department I select, and have the opportunity to work as a supervisor in that role. I already know which role I’ll be taking on, but I’ll keep it a secret from you for a little while longer so you have the excuse to visit my blog again in the future.

I am so beyond grateful for all the experiences I’ve been able to have so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Until next time,

xoxo,

Hello, New York

BLOG, TRAVEL

So should I start this post with “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”, “the greatest city in the world”, or “I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep”? All cliche, but you all know exactly where I’m referring to without even mentioning the name of the city. The big, the bright, the beautiful, New York City! *cue the kickline perfectly synced to big band jazz*

Now, I didn’t come to New York expecting to be a star, but instead, I was here to be wowed by the stars. Just not the ones in the sky, because the light pollution there is astronomical. I made my way to The Big Apple for my first time ever, for a weekend of girl power that shined brighter than anything in the sky. And at #HerConference 2018, I definitely needed to wear shades, because these killer ladies showed us that our future was just as bright, if not brighter, than Time Square at 2 am.

Our trip started off early, as we touched town in LGA just in time to make it to Central Park for lunch with a view. We rented paddle boats and enjoyed the sunshine, before eating authentic New York dogs from an award-winning (probably) cart on the street. After watching our fair share of jumping men that scammed Nicole out of a crisp five dollar bill, we were able to head to our hotel, that was dressed head to toe in all things Marilyn Monroe. Rumor has it she stayed there like, once, so naturally, the whole building was an ode to her. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

After a quick rest to sleep off our non-existent jetlag, we got into the real nitty gritty touristy stuff: Time Square. Starting off the night in the cheesiest, touristy attraction ever, we dined in style at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and were serenaded by the best of off-Broadway’s talent. Karaoke rendition after karaoke rendition of songs I’ve never heard of before was the perfect backdrop to a milkshake and a night on the town. After combating our way through crowds busier than Main Street USA after the fireworks finish, we took the classic Time Square picture and called it a night.

The next morning we started off cultured, by heading over to the Museum of Modern Art. Seeing so many famous paintings in real life was so surreal, and my elementary art teacher would have been proud. We continued our day by hitting up every basic New York attraction out there. Rockefeller Center? Check. Washington Square Park? Check. Macy’s? Check. What else was left to do but see a Broadway show of course! So to continue our day of being cultured, we chose the best of the best, Spongebob The Musical. And honestly, it was one of the greatest shows I had ever seen.

The next two days were spent at Her Conference, becoming inspired by the greatest women to grace this earth. We heard from speakers of all different backgrounds talking about how to really succeed in life. Over the course of two days, we were able to network with influencers and Her Campus members from all over the country, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Already counting down the days until next year!

Following the second night of the conference, we decided to head downtown to SoHo and Little Italy for dinner, which was an incredible surprise. Eating cannoli from the “Cannoli King” himself while musicians played on the street created such an incredible environment that I can only imagine Italy is nothing like.

On our final day, we made it to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from across the river. I’ve only seen Lady Liberty twice, and both times it was cloudy, so it looks like I’ll definitely have to go back to see her in all her glory. We were also able to see the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, and the church where Hamilton is buried.

To finish up the trip, we headed over to the High Line, a park created on old trolley tracks, and Chelsea Market. I made sure to buy handfuls of New York candy to take home before heading back to the airport.

We were able to squeeze so much into such a small amount of time, and I was so happy we made it work. Until next time, “let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York”.