I was beginning my junior year at FIU, and on track to graduate early. But what I really needed were more industry hours so that I can actually, you know, graduate. It was September 2016, and I was dead set on finding something. Actually, anything, because I felt like I was really running out of time to complete a requirement of 1,000 hours.
I first came across the Make-A-Wish Southern Florida intern opening from one of my sorority sisters, Natalia. She was working there at the time and sent out a message saying the Special Events department was looking for a second, part-time intern. *cue swooshing air sound, signaling the delivery of an email* Oh, look at that! My resume was on its way into their hands.
I had experience prior to Make-A-Wish. Not a lot of event-based jobs per se, but I relied heavily on my experience putting on events as a Resident Assistant at FIU. After a couple of interviews, I got the job, and it was fantastic! I spent my internship assisting the department with preparations for the annual ball, mostly supporting the coordinator and preparing donation items for the silent auction.
At the same time I got this job offer, I also got a job at Sports Grill in Pembroke Pines. I accepted both, happily, doing 3 days a week a week with Make-A-Wish, 3 days a week at Sports Grill, and let’s not forget about my full-time job as a student! #ghost much?
When I got the job offer at Sports Grill, I was hesitant to tell Morgan, the GM, that I could no longer stick to my original schedule, since I got another internship. I had only just met her recently and I knew she was nice, but I didn’t want it to seem like I wasn’t interested. Plus, I really needed some cash since the events internship was unpaid. When I told her, she genuinely smiled, and exclaimed how happy she was for me! What a relief.
Little did I know that Sports Grill and Make-A-Wish Southern Florida partner together every year for the annual Wings for Wishes event. A family-friendly event bringing the community together through a wing-eating competition. Morgan was so happy that I had gotten the internship and made a conscious effort to work around my internship and school schedule while still gaining experience at her restaurant.
She then asked me if I would like to attend the committee meetings and possibly start promoting to students in the FIU hospitality program. And that I did. Sitting on the committee changed everything for me. I was sitting in meetings with working professionals who I admired to the fullest extent. I learned so much just from observing. How the meetings were run, event planning, logistics, things that worked, things that didn’t. They let me be a part of something so much more than I could have hoped. That year, in the spring of 2017, the event raised $80,000 for the foundation.
Although I left Sports Grill, I still continue to volunteer for Make-A-Wish, and even stayed involved with the 2018 Wings for Wishes event. As I write this, it’s been a couple of weeks since the 4th annual event, which raised $200,000!!! I can’t wait for what the committee has in store for the 5th annual. I only hope to remain a part of it.
I believe with all of my heart that if I didn’t get the original internship with Make-A-Wish, things would be different. Yes, I might still have become involved from working at Sports Grill, but I never would have connected with all of the people in the Make-A-Wish office who I also learned so much from. I admire their passion to make wishes come true each and every day. Everything and everyone seemed to align with my values and passion, and it was truly remarkable.
In essence, this is my perfect example of how I went from kind of grasping at straws to finding something I’m passionate about. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to like or dislike until you’re in the thick of it. Which is why I would recommend doing at least one internship while in college. Had I not interned back in 2016, maybe I wouldn’t have found something that really drives me.
What was your favorite internship or job you are thankful for?
Thanks for reading! #InternOut
Thanks to everyone in the office who contributed to my internship being amazing: Natalia, Jackie, Stephanie, Mary, Jessica, Ginny, Melanie, and the rest of the crew who work so hard to make wishes come true. And to the Wings for Wishes Committee, THANK YOU!