Taking It All In

It seems nearly impossible to sum up the past eight weeks. As a newcomer to iperdesign and city life in general, I’ve truly had an immersion experience here. But all too soon, I’ll be readjusting to a much slower paced life back home in Georgia. It is amazing to think of how much I’ve changed, so I’d like to reflect on some important things I will definitely take away from this summer.

Here at iperdesign, I’ve seen how creativity and business can be truly interconnected. In a workplace with such a small team, I am constantly amazed at how important every mind is in turning the gears to create quality work. And if for some reason, the gears don’t turn as smoothly as they should, a creative solution always surfaces through discussion and negotiation. Coming from a family of several medical professionals, jobs where getting creative may not always be the best answer, this came as a breath of fresh air.

I’ve also recognized my growth as a writer, researcher, and team member. These blog posts have let me explore the branding industry from all angles, opening my eyes to new uses of technology that are changing the way people do business, develop friendships, and even relate to strangers. It gives me hope for the future amidst people reminding me how terrible the job market is and how scary bath salts are. I never would have imagined myself getting excited over new apps and open source software, but then again, I’m easily surprised.

Through The Philadelphia Center, the program that introduced me to this company, I’ve learned so many valuable lessons about the transition from college to the working world. Honing in on skills like concise writing and participating in meetings has become such a big part of this summer for me. Getting outside the classroom and seeing the connections between what I’ve been learning at school and the things I’m learning here is (nerd alert!) really exciting.

Philadelphia has opened my eyes to a completely different lifestyle. I’ve traveled to plenty of cities, but never stayed long enough to understand the nuances of city living. Never before had I been at the complete mercy of public transit, or looked homelessness and income disparity directly in the eyes. It is an environment that truly tests patience, builds confidence, and keeps humility in check. After eight weeks of non-stop learning, it baffles me that many people will go their whole lives without experiencing the joys and frustrations of living in a city. I’ve had my fair share of great discoveries (the rows of colonial houses in the middle of center city) and total let downs (Reading Terminal closes at six?!), but at least I can say I had the courage to go out and explore.

There are plenty of negative connotations when it comes to the phrase “summer internship.” Fortunately, none of those have rung true for me at iperdesign. I’ve been able to learn a lot, write a lot, and say a lot, and for that I want to thank everyone who helped make it possible. At the beginning of the summer, I had no idea what to expect from this city and internship. Even now, it’s hard to explain all the professional, academic, and personal growth that resulted from this summer.

I think the real test will come this fall when I head back to Denison University. Undoubtedly, new professors and old acquaintances will ask me what I did this summer, and I will have to summarize my Philadelphia life in a few sentences. The next test will come after graduation, when I’m faced with the (absolutely terrifying) reality of taking the next step and building towards a career. So maybe “springboard” is the word that comes to mind. I’ve wriggled my foot into the door of business life, seen what I do and do not like, and will use my time here to help mold my professional future into something that hopefully incorporates writing and team collaboration. Whatever I end up pursuing, I know that this summer at iperdesign has given me a solid foundation and some great memories.