COLLEGE INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE | COSMO WRITING PROMPT


I originally submitted this essay to Cosmopolitan when they were looking for stories about internship experiences. Overall, I can't say that my college years were totally unique - I never died doing Molly in a basement bathroom or drunkenly danced on bars -  but the people I met and the work I did were certainly memorable. 

I studied Entertainment Management, which is a fancy for entertainment marketing. It felt like a step up from Communications, which was a path that made me feel a little too ordinary. My goal post-college was to become a tour manager for a successful band (a career, I later learned, wasn't really for me). 

Because I went to school in Philadelphia, I was surrounded by venues, agencies, and broadcasting companies, which meant there were a ton of companies looking to hire college students to work for free. I had my heart set on one of my favorite venues in the city; a place where I'd seen many of my favorite bands perform before, and a place I could see myself working after graduation. 

2 follow up emails (desperate times) and a phone call later, I landed an in-person interview with the manager of the theater. It was a weird chat, but it boiled down to "...you basically have the job, and can do whatever you need to to meet the requirements of your internship.”

A job where I could determine what I was doing and when I wanted to do it? Sign me up.

In a nut shell, my job description was pretty much to go in a few days every week to help out with shows.

Most days, I was working with two members of the house staff, Eric and Ryan*; salt-of-the-earth twenty-something’s who knew a little about a lot and cared (for the most part) about their roles at the theater. They taught me how to do load-outs (the breaking down of a show in minutes so the tour bus can pull away without being mobbed by crazed fans), how the tech on the soundboard worked (because sound is an art form), and of course, all of the secret passageways and hangouts hidden throughout the venue.

Hands down, the coolest hangout was the roof. One day after stuffing envelopes for VIPs at the corporate office, I headed to the other side of the city to drop everything off and make sure I wasn’t needed for anything else. My friends were working, and they had asked if I had ever seen the roof before.

Being up high has always been something of a thing for me, whether it was jumping off of a pier into the Delaware or swinging from a rope swing in the Neshaminy Valley. With the skyline in view, what could be better?

Being the nervous person that I am, I was worried about having to pass my manager's door to gain access to the roof. Fortunately when we went up, he wasn’t in there, and I figured we would only be out there for a few minutes and then I would get “back to work.”

Climbing a thin ladder and maneuvering through an awkward opening, I was at the pinnacle of the theater. The space was littered with cigarette butts and bottle caps; there was a worn down, 3-seat couch with a faded blue cooler to serve as a coffee table. I assumed the cooler was empty and left there solely to serve as a surface, but Eric opened it and cracked 3 cold ones.

Internally, I was freaking out because this was my internship – drinking beers on top of my absolute favorite venue in the city. At that point, my life couldn’t get any cooler. Until it did.

Ryan had some funny cigarettes on hand (which I had been exposed to before and was completely fine with). God knows how many minutes later, the roof started spinning. 

“You okay?” someone had asked from far off. “All good!” I said, counting backwards from a hundred to try and get a grip on reality.

Great idea, girl. Get so silly you can’t climb back down into the venue. Poor Eric and Ryan had to help me the entire way down because my tolerance is nil, and of course my manager was sitting in his office as I descended the last rung of the ladder.

“So you’ve seen the roof?” He smiled. Best. Boss. Ever.  

I know what you're thinking. How unprofessional can I be? 

In all honesty, pretty much everyone in the corporate entertainment sector carries a bowl with them. I legit walked in on the president of the entire company blazing up with my manager one night while I was ticketing an event.
Fast forward 6 years. Am I touring the world with the more musically talented? Nah. But have I gone one toke over the line on top of one of Philadelphia’s oldest concert venues? Sure have. 

 *Names have been changed because manners.