The night before I started my internship I was surprisingly a lot less anxious than I had anticipated to be, and I felt weirdly calm for only having a night’s sleep between me and the beginning of what is essentially my professional career. However the calmness didn’t seem to have carried over to the next morning as I met with a fellow William & Mary DC Summer Institute student (Erin Spencer who also has a W&M blog, check it out!) to grab a quick bite to eat and to feel some solidarity as we calmed our nerves about our first days. But almost immediately all my anxieties about the day slowly ebbed as I met my supervisor and was given a tour of the building. Seeing ‘National Geographic Television’ on the frosted doors to the office it almost felt surreal but right at the same time. Making my way through the building and meeting a dozen people a minute was a bit overwhelming and as I finally sat down at my desk in what the staff affectionately call “The Intern Pit” amongst the other four interns who were all effectively and confidently busy at work. A phrase popped into my head that I would repeat in my head throughout my first day, “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
But surprisingly my first day did not actually require me to do any official tasks, rather only simple, mundane things like signing papers with HR, getting my badge, library orientation, and setting up my e-mail, it was rather anti-climactictic in all honesty. The next two days proved to be somewhat more stimulating and active, I was assigned research work for the show ‘Monster Fish’, and although glad to be made useful and to have work to occupy the long day of 10-6, researching salmon is just as boring as you would think it is even in the context of doing it for an internationally broadcast television show. Luckily I was granted the nice break of having Friday off for the policy of Green Friday that Nat Geo implements every few weeks or so during the summer in order to be more earth friendly by turning off the majority of the electricity in the building and only some employees coming in if necessary. My three day weekend gave me time to reflect and absorb my first three days at Nat Geo TV and when I returned to work this Monday I was ready to go and excited about what was in store for me. I heard from various people that my first week had been rather odd because it was an uncharacteristically slow week as well as there had only been three full work days. I was repeatedly reassured that summer is Nat Geo TV’s busiest time and that I would be swamped with work in no time. Already they have been proven right; yesterday and today have been crammed full with assignments and tasks and I feel as if I have fallen into a steady routine, but I have also realized that my supervisor is not just going to hand me work to do, I have to actively seek it and ask for it (it’s true what they say about internships being what you make of them). Admittedly the first days of my internship were not exactly what I had been expecting, but already I am starting to feel more comfortable about the workplace, its atmosphere, and the people around the office and I eagerly look forward to what tasks and opportunities await me.