Pre-Internship Jitters

Kari Leibowitz

My internship with Pearson started, officially, on June 24, 2011, at 9:00 AM in the offices of Upper Saddle River, NJ.  Unofficially, it started months ago, as I began to lose sleep over finding the perfect summer internship – one that paid, was in a field I found interesting, and was close to my home at the Jersey Shore.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  No idea.  But there are two things I’ve always loved: people and books.  I frantically scoured the websites of publishing companies looking for internship programs.

 Then, like a sign from the heavens, I noticed that my university’s career center was hosting Melanie Tantingco, College Relations Specialist for Pearson.  I rushed over to listen to the presentation in a room that had too many students and too few chairs.  Apparently Pearson was very popular, but the only thing I knew about the company was that it made the books I’d been trying to cram into my head for the past two years.

Then, Melanie played the video.  The backwards/forwards assumptions/truths of our generation video (see below).  I was hooked.  Pearson totally got me.  Suddenly, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.  Here was a company making a difference in the world, a company that I could really believe in, a company that would make me feel like I was doing a little bit of good by helping educate the world in my own small way.

Next came the application – sweating over making my résumé look perfect and my cover letter flawless.  Getting an e-mail asking for a phone interview and agonizing because if I didn’t answer that e-mail RIGHT AWAY to say I was available to interview ANY TIME certainly someone else would snatch up my coveted internship.

 I left the phone interview feeling uncertain, having spent the whole conversation unfoundedly paranoid that my phone would die or that a random frat boy on campus would some how penetrate the zone of quiet I had created for the interview and yell something obscene.  Yet I made it through the interview unscathed and without incident, and two weeks later the job was mine.  I breathed a gigantic sigh of relief at the knowledge I wouldn’t spend the whole summer at home cleaning out closets or wasting away in front of the TV.

 Then there was the wardrobe issue.  My closet is decidedly college student:

Modeling my new blazer

sorority t-shirts and low-cut dresses.  I raced to the outlets (thank you, Jersey) and bought a pair of dress slacks and two blazers in the hopes of converting some of my floral-print dresses to grown-up work outfits.  Armed with these big-girl clothes, I was as ready as I’d ever be.

The pressure on college students to land the right internship, excel, and get the perfect job can be overwhelming.  I think my supervisor, Kathy, who is so sweet, would have a heart attack if she knew half the anxiety I encountered preparing for this internship.  But I’ve spent over a week at Pearson now, and all that anxiety seems far behind me.  Everyone is welcoming and gentle, and no one has sat me down (yet) to tell me that I’m not fooling anybody with these blazers and I better learn to walk in heels if I want to really look professional.  The pre-internship jitters I had were checked at the door the first time I met Kathy, and now I realize I put myself through the anxiety of finding the ‘perfect’ internship so that once I got here I would feel right at home.  Welcome to Pearson.



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