What my Summer at Free People Taught me

Where to begin?

The summer began May 25, when I left my family, friends, and everything I found comfortable to begin a brief, yet life-changing experience interning for Free People in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be difficult to put into words what this summer has gifted me, but hopefully this little write up can portray to you a portion of its importance in regards to the person I am now and the person I hope to become.

I will first speak to my professional experience.

Wow. When I found an application for a Free People PR internship online I thought to myself, “No way could this be real, and no way could I ever get it.” That,  is an example of self doubt that no one should have. After a long application process, who would have thought the weird, lanky girl who talked about how cool she thought her Free People velvet pants were (in an interview with my future boss might I add) would be given the opportunity of a lifetime? My time at home office was not one involving coffee runs, unless they were for myself because Lord knows when 3 pm hits MSA needs some caffeine. I was trained by two incredible women named Sarah and Kait. They continuously poured into me professionally and personally, answering all my dumb questions, laughing at my weird jokes, and most importantly valuing me as a member of the team, not as a temporary intern. I was given real responsibilities and delegated tasks that mattered. I was able to tailor my internship to my passions and hopefully contribute something meaningful to a workplace I will always hold dear. I know I am going to miss Friday outlet meetings, Mr. Softee ice cream on tuesdays, touch bases with my boss on Wednesdays, jamming to my music while writing pitches, running to the studio to grab samples (and creepily stalking models), sitting next to Cooper the dog, and most importantly the people that made me happy to go to work every morning (S/O to Catie my fellow GA peach who was such a gem of a friend to me). Working in Building 25 was a beautiful experience I will treasure forever.

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Now, for the friends I made. Yes, I am tearing up right now so my screen is a little blurry, but I’ll make it work.

I remember telling my friends in Athens that I was scared, because I knew all the people interning for Urban, Free People, and Antropologie were going to be way out of my league in regards to the coolness factor. What was I going to do if they just went off and left me in the dust just straight derping around alone in Philly? Well, my fear was justified in some respects, my friends are WAY cooler (and more Meadow) than me, but thankfully they decided to accept me and I couldn’t be more thankful they did. I have best friends from all corners of the country and the world. From London, to Cali to Minnesota these people will be in my life forever. Some of us have barely anything in common, but our hearts just kinda beat in sync and it works. I have learned more from these people in two months than I could have ever expected. They exhibit strength, poise, and dignity while not being unapproachable. They love others fully and invest in them all they have. They have cared about my past, present, and future and encourage me to make that impact on the world I so desire . They never doubted me and pushed me to be greater even when I didn’t think I had the capacity. We laughed and cried together, sharing our pains and triumphs. Most importantly, my Philly family I know will always be there for me. Miles will never trump the incredible relationships we forged this summer together. Again, words will never accurately describe how wonderful these people are. I am lucky to have met them and humbled to call them close friends. Standing on the porch crying together saying goodbye is a magnificent picture of the everlasting impact we all had on each other.

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As for life lessons, I came out of Philadelphia with a few I want to share. Forgiveness was a huge part of my summer. I needed to stop beating myself up for past mistakes and turn what happened into something positively beautiful. I am happy to say this summer got me really close to making this a reality. I learned that you will be loved fully by people even when you are your full self. It is intimidating to not put up walls to guard your heart, your personality, and even your quirks, but those things are what makes you you. Great friends will flock to you wherever you may go and the strongest friendships are built on honesty and transparency. My Philly fam knew my life story in the first week, and as you can see it worked out pretty darn great. Another lesson I took away from this summer, is that your life can be as grand as you believe it can be. The number 1 inhibitor to any accomplishment is yourself. As I stated earlier, self doubt can be a worthy opponent in battle, however, you gotta defeat it to make your dreams a reality. Settling is for the birds and is never necessary. If Philly taught me anything, it was to chase after what you find meaningful. Finally, I learned to stop caring about what others think. We hear that all the time, but life is so freeing not being so caught up in social norms and appearances. If you want to play Kid Ink on the iPhone and have a dance party with your friends in the street, you do that (just maybe be courteous of the music choice if kids are around you know?).

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At the end of the day, Philly showed me life is too short to be scared. I say go for it. If you’re willing to make something happen, it will happen, there might just be sacrifices along the way. Skies the limit homies.

I am grateful for this summer of growth, laughter, and learning. It could not have happened without the support of my Atlanta and Athens families, and now my Philly family. Thank you for changing my life forever guys.

XX,

MSA

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