Can I please just say how much I love my internship? It’s seriously so great. Today was my first day working with my team and the past two days were orientation with the rest of the interns. It’s been a long week so far, but after getting to actually work in the mens merchandising department today, I’m just so ecstatic and the exhaustion has definitely been worth it.
I’m still totally lost and have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s okay. My nerves have started to go away and I’m getting more comfortable with my surroundings and coworkers. I absolutely adore my team. Eric, my mentor, is so nice and helpful. And I’m actually getting to do things. I went to two of his meetings today with him, went to a lecture, and did some research for him in between. Think of what Andy goes through in The Devil Wears Prada. It’s the opposite of that. I know most of it is because Lands’ End is such a great company and cares about their employees so much. It’s only been three days, and I’d already recommend that anyone interested in merchandising, design, retail operations, marketing, IT, and even corporate wellness, look at them as a serious option for an internship. They truly care about their employees and the customer, which makes the environment so much more enjoyable and friendly than any of the offices I visited on my New York field study in March. It was a long day, but I didn’t even care. I even stayed late to finish up some research. I really hope that after I graduate I find a career that I enjoy as much as this. And I can only imagine that it will get better from here, once I start to pick up on things a little more.
I’ve also started to get a little more comfortable with the daily drive to Dodgeville and back. It’s about 50 minutes, but it hasn’t been too bad (thanks to my bitchin summer mix in my car). Things are slowly getting easier, and I’m starting to already fall into a bit of a routine, which is so helpful. Once my roommate and his girlfriend (both friends of mine from high school) get back this weekend, I’m sure I’ll get more comfortable with Madison itself. I still haven’t driven anywhere besides to work and to Target. I’ll get there eventually.
I know it’s only been three days since my last post, but I feel like I’ve learned so much. Here are some of my key takeaways from the first three days of my internship:
*There is literally no parking in Madison. When I carpooled with a few other interns on Monday, I was forced to park illegally (thank god my car didn’t get towed) for the day. I pretty much had to narrow down which is the least illegal spot and park there. I ended up in a hospital parking lot. Thanks Madison.
*Sodexo caters at Lands’ End. They also catered at my old college, St. Ambrose. They must save all of the good food for Lands’ End, because holy cow! I devoured the most delicious wrap yesterday and it was nothing like anything that was offered at the caf at Ambrose. A+, Lands’ End. A+.
*Apparently it rains just as much in Wisconsin as it does in Iowa…
*College in general has not prepared me whatsoever for this internship. I flat out told Eric from the start that I do really well in school, I try really hard, but I feel like it has not prepared me for this position, so I have no idea what I’m doing. I have a ton of practically useless information about threads, seams, stitches, and fabrics floating around in my head and no way to apply it. So that’s what we decided to base my internship on: learning how to actually apply my knowledge. So I’m mainly going to shadow him and do a few projects here and there.
*Speaking of useless classes, for any apparel students at ISU, it’s the classes you least expect to help you that actually help you when you’re on the job. Yes, most of textile science was worthless, but holy smokes has it been a bit of a lifesaver the past three days. Also, go to your retail math labs. I know they’re on Friday until 5 and you don’t want to be there, but you need to be. Trust me. Make Excel your best friend. And know how to calculate an IMU.
*They should teach Microsoft Outlook in college. Because I’m completely lost…
*Gosh it pays off to be motivated. Everyone tells students that they need to take initiative at their internship to be noticed. It’s like, duh, obviously–but it’s harder than you might think. Right now, I know so little about what my department even does on the daily basis, that if I tried to just jump in and do something, I’d probably mess a lot of things up for some pretty important folks. So right now, I’m staying super positive and asking a lot of questions. About everything. Even things that aren’t associated with merchandising. It’s good to know all aspects of your business to be able to perform your best in your area of expertise. I’m no expert yet, but Eric told me today that I’m better now than most interns are when they leave. Umm, how? My motivation. Just ask a lot of questions and volunteer as much as you can to help out. If it’s hard for you to do that or you don’t enjoy it, you’re in the wrong field.
*There are two Kaylees in the department. My desk neighbor now calls me K-dizzle.
It’s been a great experience so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me this summer!
Until next time–