This is a guest post by Intern Queen&s campus ambassador Michelle Robles from Central Connecticut State University.
So you’ve landed an internship working in the Big Apple. First off, congratulations! Thousands of kids
from all over the world apply for internships in New York City and those lucky enough to acquire the
position deserve a pat on the back. Putting together a cover letter, resume and going through the
interview process is stressful but don’t get too comfortable just yet, NYC is a world of its own.
I have been interning and working in NYC for the past four years. I am so grateful for the experiences I
have obtained both in and out of the workplace. I moved to NYC in 2008, and six internships later I feel
confident enough in my NYC street smarts to lend out a few tips to all of you!
Time management-In business, being 15 minutes early is on time; in NYC, 30 minutes is on time.
If you are taking the subway, take in account time waiting for the trains, MTA route revisions,
and unfortunate delays such as a sick passenger on board. If you decide to take a taxi, make
sure you know where you are going. By this I don’t mean just the address, but look at the route
ahead of time so you are not taken advantage of by long detours to increase your fare. In fact,
at times I’ve been more knowledgeable than the drivers; sometimes the drivers don’t even
know how to get there! Although you may not be accustomed to walking a lot, sometimes it
may be a faster option than hopping on the subway for two stops. Also, download the subway
map app, get a free NYC pocket guide map from a NYC visitor’s center, and try checking out
Money management-Only one of my six internships thus far has been paid. So I KNOW how it
feels to be penniless in the city. However, there are ways around it and still have an amazing
time! I learned very quickly that making your lunch for work, saves you A LOT. One summer I
spent $50 a week on my daily salads. Although they were out of this world delish, I found that
the following summer I saved $35 a week by making a ham sandwich, bringing my own coffee,
and a snack. Purchasing the unlimited $90 subway pass may initially break the bank but in the
long run, it is a great investment. Budget, budget, budget. There is so much to do in the city
that making a monthly budget is a must if you want to stay on top of your funds. If you have a
paid internship, lucky you! But if you don’t, maybe getting a part time weekend job may help
Taxi’s-NYC is known for the famous yellow taxi. However they are not the only car service
providers. On that note, be careful! If you are on the side of the street calling for a cab, you
may notice town cars honking their horns, or pulling over next to you. Before you get in, talk
to the driver. Ask the driver if he is credited, and tell him where you want to go, and negotiate
a flat fare price. Sometimes these privately owned car services are cheaper than a taxi, but I
stress, BE SMART! Do not get in a car that does not have their certificate on the back of the
passenger seat. If they do not have one displayed, wave them along and find another cab.
Networking- Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to people! Networking saves me tons of money when I go into the city. Others can tell you about good cheap eats, sales, attractions, events, and events they can get you in for free. And who knows, you may make a great friend! And again I stress, be smart about the places you go and the people you go with.
Balancing work and play-You’ve landed an intern position over many other candidates, so do
not take advantage of your responsibilities. I’ve worked with interns in the past that came into
the office smelling of alcohol. Not a good look. My advice, don’t go out the night before you
have work the next day. The connections you make in the work place are extremely important.
Watch a movie, or stay local in your neighborhood, but keep the partying for another night.
But on that note, if you are 21, be sure to experience the nightlife. If I had to recommend my
favorites, the best bar is Off The Wagon, the best rooftop bar is at the Gansevort , and the best
clubs are Libation and Marquee. And even if you are not 21, there are tons of things you can
still do, so don’t worry!
Free events- Do your online research my tech-savy generation! There are so many free events
in NYC its crazy; you just have to search for them. Check out Central Park on a nice day as there
are so many crazy good entertainers there. Some museums, like my favorite MOMA, have
free admission hours. Click here
The mess down-under A.K.A. the subway system- Using the subway system may be intimidating
at first, but don’t feel dumb, we all had to start somewhere! NYC visitor centers have small
discrete subway maps; you can download a handy app on your phone, or look at the maps
posted in the systems. Also, I had mentioned hopstop.com before, or even Google it! Google
gives you subway directions too! When all else fails, ask someone. Granted, some people may
be in the same boat as you, the person next to you eavesdropping will chime in and give you
directions, trust me. First and foremost, familiarize yourself with a map of NYC before you
explore. Know the five boroughs, and locations of major buildings and streets.
I hope I helped some of you ease into the idea of interning and living in New York City. I moved to NYC
all by myself when I was 18. It can be done, and it may be lonely at times, but if you have a positive
attitude, street smarts, and put yourself out there, I guarantee you will have the best time of your life.
“In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
These streets will make you feel brand new,
The lights will inspire you.”-Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z
Good luck everyone!