It seems like ages ago now that I first made the decision to commit to a summer externship in the spring of my Junior year. I vaguely remembered hearing about the externship programs in past years and seeing advertisements for them around campus, but never really felt compelled until now to take the initiative and apply to one of them. I had already completed an internship at a live entertainment venue called Komedia while studying abroad in Bath, England, which, lasting a full semester, I assumed would be far more extensive than anything I could take away from an externship lasting a mere week. A lot of people probably do it the other way around and start with an externship before transitioning into an internship. I questioned whether an externship was really worth my time and almost let my doubts dissuade me from applying. Less than a day into my externship, however, I realized how wrong my thinking was and felt immensely thankful that the opportunity to observe at NBC for a week was open to Gettysburg College students, and that I was accepted into the program.
My greatest cause of anxiety before the start of the externship was probably figuring out how to navigate New York City on my own, and also presenting myself in the most professional way possible each day to high-end executives. It was more than a little intimidating walking into the enormous skyscraper in the middle of Rockefeller Center, getting a pass from security, and making my way up to the 29th floor to meet my externship host, Gettysburg alum Nick Johnson ’90. NBC is a company I have heard about for as long as I can remember, and I have grown up watching the NBC television network for news and entertainment, and viewing their content online. However, I initially felt like an outsider with no inside knowledge trying to insert myself into a major corporation, which was basically true; however, it didn’t take long to quell my nerves and start to feel comfortable with the externship as soon as I saw how friendly and accommodating everyone was. I was afraid I would feel like a burden by disrupting the employees’ normal work routines, but everyone whom I met with seem honored that I took such an interest in their work, and were eager to bestow their knowledge on me.
I really enjoyed the rotational structure of the externship, since it allowed me to observe a different department within the NBC Sports Group each day, in order to get a feel for what each department did, how they collaborated, and which was most in line with my skills and interests. By the end of the week, I was able to conclude that a career in media marketing, either digital or linear (television), is probably the most promising scenario for me, from the four departments I observed. It seemed to involve the most creative thinking and writing/communication skills, which I have acquired from my English and Film double majors, and Jeff Carroll, the marketing director I met with on the first day, was an English major as well at Lafayette College. He gave me some great tips on how I can start to market myself as a writer to employers in the media and entertainment industry. He has many writing and entertainment contacts that he can connect me with as well, such as writers for Saturday Night Live.
There were many fun perks thrown into the five day externship experience, such as a lavish dinner with Nick and some other NBC employees at a restaurant called The Palm, the chance to meet individually with some employees who had experience working in the entertainment sector of NBC, and just getting to explore the city on my own. However, the best part of the externship, overall, is by far all the new knowledge and experience I will take away from it, as well as multiple contacts I can continue to communicate with for career advice and references. My externship experience at NBC Universal was well worth my time, and I am so grateful for everything I have gained from having participated in it!