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Bon Voyage (and Welcome), Interns!

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I’m never prepared for this.  Three times a year, I find myself dealing with some really strange feelings—those darn “goodbye” emotions that I am just terrible at.

You may have read about our Southwest Airlines No Limits Internship Program and all the incredible things the Interns get to do during their tenure at the Company. But today, I hope to shed some light on what the Employees go through with each new group of “kids” that come in and go out of our crazy Southwest lives.

They arrive their first day all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and everyone smiles and gives them a typical warm and cheery Southwest Airlines welcome, all the while waiting to meet the real personalities of these “youngsters” ; it’s not long before they come out.  Every semester, without fail, we get shy Interns, outgoing Interns, Mr.  & Ms. Popularity Interns, budding stand-up comic Interns, and every type of Intern in between.  It’s amazing to see the personalities develop within the group and to watch the strong bonds of friendship that some of them form as they learn about each others’ departments and use their flight privileges to travel like maniacs all over the SWA System! 

It’s always a little more exciting when there are Interns around the office.  If they aren’t telling college stories that bring memories rushing back to us all, they are schooling us on the latest trends, amazing us with their stellar Excel skills, and teaching us how to use Facebook to its maximum potential.  And it’s only during Intern season that you can see a bunch of college kids sprinting through the halls of Headquarters trying to win the coveted title of Amazing Race Champions.

This summer semester was a little different for the Executive Office; we had three Interns: Cody Conover, Taylor Trncak, and Paige Gonzalez.  Some of you might recognize their names; all three of them are true “Southwest Babies.”  I am here to tell you that, while their names may have gotten their resumes a second look, these three kids earned their way in to the cubicles (and hearts) here at SWA Headquarters.  When given tasks, they finished them with such SPIRIT (and with so much laughter), that it was hard to not want to jump in and work alongside them…so we all did.  As usual, our Interns quickly became part of our Family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I am trying not to admit it to myself, but the last round of Interns is back at school and/or have gone on to successful careers in all sorts of different fields.  In my heart, and I know I am not alone, I secretly wish that all of them will come right back here where they belong.   Some of the Interns actually will be hired right out of the program, but the majority of them aren’t quite finished with college, so we have to let them go.  And here is where the hard part comes in.

Their last week is filled with storytelling and picture taking, final trips to favorite lunch spots, lots of big hugs, and even a few tears.  (This goes on with every group of Interns that passes through.)  We can only hope that our “kids” take away as much from Southwest Airlines as they have left with us, that they continue to Live the Southwest Way, and, no matter what, that they always keep LUV in their hearts.

So as hard as it will be to send them all out into the world,  our new crop of SWA Interns arrives today. But can we please figure out a way to avoid this whole “goodbye” thing next time? 

To all our Summer 2008 Interns: Thanks for everything, you guys! It’s been a pleasure to work with you and we will miss you all!

LUV, Your Southwest Family

11 Comments
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We met our new Intern today, and he's pretty fabulous! Ray Edward Buffington IV is part of a bowling league, makes a mean veggie stew, and has an article coming out tomorrow on flushing ettiquette! I think it's going to be a great semester 🙂
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Can I be an Intern Pilot? That would be awesome. Bradley
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As a former Southwest intern, let me just say that after our amazing time at SWA was over, we missed our SWA family just as much as they missed us. It was such an incredible experience to work with some extremely talented and FUN people!
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I didn't cry much about having to leave at the end of the summer, until now. Awesome blog! LUV, *barbie*
Employee
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I know how to fix the whole "goodbye" problem. Be like me and just never leave! Thank goodness the Public Relations Department let me stick around for an extra three weeks!
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SWA internships are the best experiences ever. As I speak my professor is talking about the airline industry, and guess who has claimed the top spot in the eyes of the class? SWA! Thanks for the blog recognition! LUV!
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I was a SWA intern during the summer 2007 and was given the great opportunity to come back again this past summer as an intern. Stepping into the familiar cubical farm all I could think was "I'm Home" It was hard to say goodbye again this year but I know there is lots of LUV from my SWA familly and I have lots of LUV for them.
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Southwest was truly my home for 3 months. I miss all of my fellow interns and Marketing team. I fell in LUV with Southwest and continue to cherish the relationships I developed over the summer! I am so thankful for my experience!
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Gosh, this blog makes me so jealous! I applied for a few of the internships for Spring and I am getting so nervous about not getting a call back..I hope you guys don't pass me over 😞 I really love SWA not because of the brand name but because it just seems like such a laid back, awesome place to be. This blog just makes me so so envious..how can I get my foot in the door after submitting my app?
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Yes! Its very true that most of the time 'Goodbye' makes us feel sad. And you quote"Bon Voyage" its starting of new journey also. After the course completion actual exams come in life. Now its the time to do something yourself. Every goodbye has some unknown facts of future which make us sad. I can only put one of the goodbye quotes : "Don't be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.." By:Richard Bach
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How much true this quote is. People at this stage have to say goodbye and will meet with new people with the help of people (whom he said goodbye). I am saying that this is not the end this is the starting of a new journey. Goodbye Guys and always try to read good inspirational quotes.