Last spring, at the end of my junior year, I became panicked because I still hadn’t found an internship. Fortunately, on May 10th, less than a month before the internship was supposed to start, I received an offer from the Mayor’s Office of New York City. Due to time constraints, I very quickly submitted information for my background check, secured housing in Manhattan, and scraped together every penny I could for some extra spending money.
The New York City Mayor’s Office is huge which is predictable considering it serves the biggest city in the United States. There are many departments, but I worked specifically in correspondence. I had several responsibilities as an in
tern in this office, the main one involved routing casework and mail to corresponding agencies. This put me in direct contact with agencies around the city such as NYPD, Housing Preservation and Development, Immig
ration and many more. I also answered phones and sorted mail (surprisingly, a very interesting task). I was also selected to be an intern for the head writer, which gave me to opportunity to respond to mail. My favorite set of letters to respond to was from a group of 6th grade students who wrote in from a small private school in Brooklyn.
As an intern, I was also able to volunteer at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s home. The most interesting event there was David Dinkin’s 90th birthday party. I was in charge of securing the stage to make sure no one tried to speak with Dinkins or Mayor de Blasio before the event began. This event enabled me to meet many political figureheads from the city as well as the Mayor himself, who saw my bright orange intern tag and still decided to shake my hand. I also participated in a bi-weekly speaker series where I was able to hear Deputy Mayors give presentations on their offices. My favorite was Victor Calise, the Deputy Mayor for the Office for People with Disabilities. He gave a really thought-provoking and entertaining presentation on the goals towards making New York City accessible to all people no matter their circumstances.
My Mayor’s Office internship gave me so many opportunities. Not only did it allow me to live and work in my favorite city, but also gave me insight into my prospective work environment. Furthermore, it enabled me to establish several professional contacts, many of which I still utilize today.
Networking is one of the single greatest benefits of an internship because it enables you to connect with others in your field of interest. My advice to PS majors is to send thank you emails to everyone you work with, even if your interactions are brief, ask questions and show an interest. Also, do not be afraid to inquire about future internship or work opportunities. While internship positions or jobs may not be available, at the very least, you’ll have a point of contact and/or someone to write a great recommendation letter for you. Lastly, remember that maintaining connections is just as important as making connections. Foster your professional relationships the same way you would foster a friendship.
I truly believe that internships are one of the most valuable things you can add to your degree. Internships not only give you real-life work experience in the field of your choice, but they forge connections that can come in handy in your future career. I am constantly grateful for my internship opportunity this past summer and I know it has helped push me towards my career goals.