Before I begin, I’m going to backtrack four months to the first day of my internship at PPR. In short: I got lost. It was my first time navigating Manhattan, and I desperately wanted to blend in. The second I emerged from Grand Central, I knew that was going to be a very difficult task. After being bumped and prodded numerous times by passing people, I hastily enveloped myself into the hustle and bustle, having absolutely no clue if I was headed in the right direction.
I meandered for what felt like an eternity, completely at the mercy of my iPhone, my only source of direction. I would walk for a few blocks before the obnoxious blinking dot representing my body would appear to have a conniption, change its mind, and tell me to go back in the direction from which I came. This happened approximately five times, resulting in several mini-heart attacks and the realization that my phone was trying to kill me.
I wasn’t taking my surroundings in one block at a time; I was looking at the city as a whole, until it became a blur of concrete, faces and taxis. At one point, I realized that I was directly in the middle of a flock of men, all of whom were holding briefcases, wearing beige coats, and talking into cell phones. Taking note of my skinny jeans and flats, and feeling quite out of place, I dodged off to the side and watched the circle of beige polyester continue down the sidewalk in unison. By now I’m frantic, and I had really begun to hate that wretched blinking dot in iPhone Maps.
Standing on a curb, silently cursing Apple, I heard a voice: “Where are you trying to go?” I looked up to see an older gentleman, holding a briefcase and wearing a long beige jacket. (He was one of them.) He must have seen my predicament, realized the sadness of it all, and took pity on me. I immediately felt myself blush; I had obviously failed at the game of “blending in.”
I responded in a pathetic voice: “Avenue of the Americas…” He chortled, and immediately tried to stop smiling, obviously not wanting to embarrass me. (Too late.) He then said, “Nobody calls it that. It’s Sixth Avenue.” My cheeks were on fire. Someone probably could’ve fried an egg on my face. My lower lip instinctively start to pout, and feeling more like a foreigner than ever before, all I could get out in reply was: “Oh…” He gave me quick directions, before disappearing into a passing blurry mass of stylish suits and high heels. Now with a renewed pace, and an actual sense of direction, I walked the fifteen some-odd blocks to the office building.
Upon entering, I approached two very grouchy looking men at the front desk. Feeling awkward, I did what I always do when I feel out of place – I smiled. The cornersof their mouths didn’t crack in the slightest. The day was off to a great start.
The next eight hours were spent on a very tedious first task of going through a massive list of contacts, and deciding which ones were eligible to be a possible spokesperson for our client. By the time 5 o’clock rolled around, and I safely made my way back to Grand Central, I collapsed on the train, half-dead. Ironically, my sister-in-law was only a few feet ahead of me, and I, literally being too exhausted to call out to her, waited for our eyes to meet. I spent the train ride telling her all about my first day, and I realized that along with my stories came a renewed energy, and that I was feeling something I hadn’t felt in a very long time: satisfaction.
Fast-forwarding four months to right now, I fondly look back on my first day. Throwing myself into an uncomfortable and foreign environment has allowed me to grow as an adult, an individual, and a woman. My experiences and accomplishments, although relatively small and seemingly insignificant, have filled me with pride and confidence. It is very often that my favorite part of the day is when I check my email and have received a positive response to one of my pitches. I am ecstatic with the experiences I am having at PPR, the mentoring and guidance I’ve been receiving from Annie and Andrew, and the skills that I am cultivating that I’ll take with me in all my future endeavors
I write this now as I sit on the train, heading home from my commute. My final words – I still don’t like iPhone maps, but now the two men at the front desk smile back.
Written By: Laura
Pace Public Relations, Account Executive
**Images Courtesy of NYCPRGirls.com