In May 2016 I packed my bags and made the (temporary) move to NYC for my first summer internship. I had never been to NYC, I just finished my freshman year of college, and honestly, I was clueless. I now have interned in NYC for three summers, and recently moved here full-time, so I feel like a pro when it comes to the city—however, there are a few things I wish I knew before heading off to NYC.
I’m sharing with you what I wish I knew before, so you don’t get off that plane and get hit with a hefty dose of reality. Interning far from home can be stressful enough, and the ladies of Team SAK are here to ease your worries. Follow below for five things I wish I knew before interning in NYC.
As I said before, I had never been to NYC before accepting my internship there. One thing I wish I did before I went was research. Before I got there I wish I researched the area I was living in more, what subway to take, the different areas of town, and what activities are available in the NYC area. During my first few days, I learned things the hard way. I got lost on the subway, I was chased down the street by a crazy lady (I learned to not go on that street after 9 pm), and I was overwhelmed with everything that was going on. Before you head off to your internship make sure to research the city that you will be living in!
Budget, Budget, Budget
I was a fresh-faced nineteen-year-old who had avoided the budget chat with my financial advisor, aka my mom. Reality hit that first year. I was spending too much money on eating out and new clothing. Before interning in NYC, I wish I had set myself a strict budget. NYC is not as expensive as it seems if you spend your money wisely. Looking back on my first year there I regret how much I spent on stupid things. Before heading off to your internship, face the reality of how much you have to spend over those three months. Set yourself a budget, and actually, stick to it. Money doesn’t grow on trees FYI.
Use Your Weekends Wisely
Before interning in NYC, I wish I realized the need to use weekends wisely. I was about halfway through my internship when I realized I was not taking advantage of everything around me. As I said before if I had researched before I would understand that I could have done more on my weekends. I wish I realized that on some weekends I would need to be alone, I should go out and have fun, and other weekends I had to relax. Before heading to your internship understand that weekends are the time for you to explore that city, hang with friends or take time for yourself. It shouldn’t be all work and no play.
Before interning in NYC, I wish I knew more about networking and the importance of it. I didn’t take full advantage of networking until my second summer, and I genuinely regret that. During my first summer, I wish I spent my nights heading to different intern events throughout the city or spending it with my co-interns. The advice I can give you is to find as many networking events and sign up for them. Also, make sure you’re making connections with your bosses and other interns. You never know who you’ll see down the line. Shout out to Audree because she taught me everything I now know about networking.
It’s Okay To Be Nervous, Everyone Is
One thing I wish I knew before heading off to NYC is that it’s okay to be nervous. Chances are your co-interns, and the other million interns in NYC are just as nervous. My first summer I was so worried my first day on the internship, I was quiet and held myself back. Ways to get through these nerves are talking about it, asking questions, and taking the initiative. We clam up when our nerves get the best of us. I’ve now learned it’s best to be candid about your nerves whether it be with your supervisor or co-interns. I promise you those nerves will shake away the second you find your work groove.