When Lindsay Lang in the People Department told us that our summer internship would serve as a three month-long interview, all I could think of was the many ways I could mess up. Having graduated college only a mere week before the internship start date, I didn’t have any other post-graduate plans after the internship. I knew that there were very few job offers that could lure me from Southwest, and so I decided to approach the opportunity just as Lindsay had advised–as an interview.
Not long into my Summer of LUV, I realized that I was going to have a very difficult time leaving Southwest and working for another company upon the completion of my internship. It seemed to me that the People in the Communication Department weren’t the only ones who genuinely enjoyed their jobs. Rather, there was something unique about the Culture that was especially enticing to an unemployed, recent graduate.
Luckily, about halfway through the summer, we learned of an opening in Customer Relations. It didn’t take much to convince me to apply. And when I received the call offering me the position, I knew that the opportunity was too good to let pass.
That being said, I knew the position would challenge me in ways an internship never could. I was anxious about working for a department I knew virtually nothing about. As a Writer in Customer Relations, I knew I would have much more responsibility–from learning everything about Southwest policies and procedures to meeting my monthly productivity goals. Yet, I also knew that the experience I had gained from my internship would prove invaluable.
The first month of the job was nothing less of overwhelming. Even after interning for Southwest for three months, I realized how much I still had to learn. Yet, despite the initial challenges, I was comforted in the consistency I found in the Culture and the People that surrounded me. I came to understand why the Employees here were so enthused to come to work; they serve as the most valuable asset in an infamous Culture. And I realized that perhaps the most significant experiences during my internship were those that allowed me a glimpse this Culture.
While the internship introduced me to the Culture at Southwest, my job has allowed me to contribute to this Culture. I’m sure there were many ways I could have failed a three month-long interview, but I am grateful that my internship offered me the chance to begin a career with the Company I had grown to LUV.
As we prepare to welcome another class of Interns this spring, I can think of many words of advice. First, be open-minded. Learn new concepts, meet new people, and of course, travel new places. Never let fear hold you back from trying new things or taking on tasks you didn’t think you could accomplish. And don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. Jump at every opportunity you have to take part in the Culture here, and meet the People that make this Company so special. And finally, pack light, and for all different climates because you never know where your travels may take you.
Interested in applying for the No Limits Internship program? Check it out here.