It has been difficult adapting from college life, where I stay up all night and sleep all day, to the working world, where I wake up before the sun and am productive all the way through 5 p.m. By the time I fully adapt, my Internship will probably be close to over, if not over already.
Growing up with a mom who worked in Ground Operations at the Dallas Station and now works in HDQ, I never wanted to work here. I saw her work long hours and bring work home almost every night, somehow trying to fit her personal life in around her work schedule. At some point, all of that changed. Now, I strive to be like her. I see the respect she commands upon entering a room, I envy the friendships she has formed from her 26-year employment, and I crave the dedication she has to her job.
Southwest Airlines is more than a "symbol of Freedom" to me. It is a way of life. I have learned that Employees do not work here because they enjoy the hours and the pay. They work here because they are more interested in the success of the Company than they are with their personal success. Can you say that about any other place of employment?
As the Intern for the Culture Activities Department in the Executive Office, my job entails socializing, playing games and above all having FUN. Okay, so maybe that is only what it seems like. In reality, the Culture Activities Team works harder than I ever imagined. Do you know how much time it takes to plan the Annual Awards Banquet?? You probably don't want to.
Aside from the FUN I have working in my Department; the Company's Intern Coordinators plan various outings and events for us. One day, the Interns left before lunch venturing to Arlington to see a Texas Rangers game. Not long ago they organized a race, The Amazing Race, which tested our knowledge of SWA and HDQ in order to lead us to race stations where we were challenged by questions or activities that won us clues eventually leading to the finish line. We even had Field Day, where we had water wars and played an altered version of sand volleyball that used water balloons as volleyballs. I'm not bragging, but my team placed second among all Intern Teams at Field Day!
The greatest part about this Internship is that I am not just at work with Coworkers everyday; I am working with my new friends. Age is no barrier at Southwest Airlines, and no one assumes I can't do something because of my age or Intern-status. Although I mostly shadow the wonderful People in my Department, they do give me real-world responsibility. I have friends in Internships that file, stuff envelopes, and hate their lives for it. I, on the other hand, file, stuff envelopes with LUV and enjoy every minute of it! There is never a dull moment here.
I think Internships are supposed to give students a reality check. They are supposed to show us that the real world isn't as pretty as we think it is when we are in college. My Southwest Internship has shown me reality in many ways, some more positive than others. The most useful and effective thing I have learned is that the possibility to find success and happiness in a job is real. Working life does not have to be miserable and mundane; it can be FUN and exciting! I can't wait to see where else SWA takes me!
This Internship really has been life-altering. I walked in here nervous and insecure, and I will leave confident and full of potential. I can never repay Southwest Airlines for the part they have played in my life. I can only hope that they will remember my name when I come back more educated and looking for a job.