By: Becky Brinkerhoff and Karina Zack
The scene was set: four eager postgrads posting-up in their best business casual staring at a massive glass building. Armed with fresh degrees and positive texts from mom, the ladies took their first steps into Hill Holliday as Program 35ers. What could possibly go wrong?
One intern entered a room on the 33rd floor filled with young adults also dressed to the nines. In a few short conversations, she started to think that she may be in the wrong room. There was no way she could be in the wrong room. The email said 9:30AM in this room. And emails are law. Emails are infallible. Emails make the world go round. Maybe the rest of the Program 35ers were just running late?
As the room introduced themselves, she realized that she was, in fact, the only one in her program. After the introductions, the person leading the sessions said, “So, you’re actually going to head to the lobby where you will find the rest of your program.” And with all the grace of a middle schooler in the wrong classroom on the first day of school, she stood up, said, “Well, nice to meet y’all anyway,” awkwardly bowed, and exited.
Flash forward past introductions, Dunkin’ Munchkins, post-sugar jitters, and SnapChats in their new snapbacks, the girls headed to Floor 34 (or was it 33? No, it was definitely 36) to sign some paperwork and get their very own company IDs. One by one, each girl stood in front of a stark white wall and twisted her face into its most convincing corporate smile.
The photos came out weird, repugnant, and downright chipmunk-y. However, each intern politely--albeit awkwardly--declined when the nice lady in the clean-cut pantsuit offered to retake the picture.
The brigade of internesses strutted toward the shining beacons of professionalism--er, the ID-prompted gates--and entered to the elevator plaza after the very first (second) try. Finally back in the Hill Holliday office, they patiently awaited their very own laptops. Still confused as to which floor they were even on, the four of them were graciously handed one MacBook Air out of the four they were supposed to receive. “Oh, you guys all start today?” said the IT guy who was soon to become their best friend. But, confusion aside, they were grateful to have a computer at all. Even if they would take a grand total of seven trips to IT that day.
As everyone knows, you aren’t a real employee until you’ve sent your first official email. The ladies of Program 35 huddled around the 13” screen, and meticulously crafted the first step to the rest of their careers.
“No, say ‘Hey’ instead of ‘Hello’!”
“Do we sign our names, or just ‘Program 35’?”
"Yeah that looks good!"
The email was sent.
...And promptly bounced back with a “Delivery Failed” message.
Hoping this wasn’t some cruel metaphor for attempting to be independent adults and subsequently failing at life, a synchronized deep breath was had. The ladies regrouped to hatch a plan. One online-stalking session later, they found the correct address. After a satisfying digital swoosh, the second attempt was well on its way.
Maybe this interning thing wouldn’t be so graceless after all.
After they settled into their fluorescently-lit offices, they were certain that all the awkward was behind them. The rest of the summer couldn’t be as embarrassing or uncomfortable as their first day. But as they floated down the hall to the elevators, a voice behind them shouted, “Happy first day!” to which they replied, “It’s somebody’s birthday?”