If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can go read about the jobs I had in high school and the jobs I had during my college school terms.
I was one of the students who didn’t take summer school, but used that as a chance to land internships and try to figure out my career path. Even though I double majored, I carefully planned my classes from the very first quarter so I wouldn’t need summer school. I did end up taking an extra quarter, but that was because I didn’t realize that studying abroad limited how many classes I could take. Apparently they don’t take well to overly ambitious plans for education abroad programs, even if you are learning in your native language. But I digress. I certainly took advantage of those summers to try out some pretty diverse jobs!
As my first year of college was wrapping up, I had my eye on getting an internship. I tried a bunch of things, but everything was so competitive and very few companies would even look at a first year student. Ultimately, I was able to land an internship with a small film company about to film a low-budget movie. With all this entertainment industry influence around me in Los Angeles, I figured I should see if it was something I’d want to get into. I started off doing administrative work during pre-production. I looked through Craigslist to find housing for actors and I even found a dog to be in the movie. I helped book things and plan things and manage things. I also got to go out scouting a few times, driving around all parts of LA looking for that perfect spot for this and that scene.
One of the scenes in the movie, in which I got pulled in to be an extra extra (har har).
Once we started filming, I took on even more, constantly managing the changing grips and electrics, getting second meals (a ton of fast food after a long day as we’re wrapping up for the day/night), wrangling extras, running lines with actors occasionally, and going around doing all that production assistants do. I enjoyed seeing all the behind-the-scenes stuff and running the operation was fitting for my skills. I learned a lot, met a lot of cool people, and even got to put my cat in the film – hence my credit as cat handler
. I was probably in there somewhere as well, but only in scenes where you can’t even find me. Oh, and one time I found they’d used my car for a scene… we were very low budget. (The film’s title is Wristcutters: A Love Story
, by the way – in case you want to watch it. :))
When it came time for my second summer internship, I wanted to explore a different industry. Since one of my majors was economics, I decided to see if I might want to pursue a career in finance. I landed an internship at Smith Barney with a duo who managed the financial portfolios of mostly aerospace employees. They’d carved out a niche for themselves so they could be one of the most knowledgeable in that area of expertise. Very smart! I spent my time there learning how to cold call, prepare financial portfolios, do financial research, and run a small portion of an office. They taught me how to read the financial portfolios, shared with me how they strategized, and being in that office space showed me what it was like to work in a big office high rise.
The only picture I have from my food demoing days.
That same summer is when I found a job to do on the side, since my internship only required 8 hours a week. I became a Product Demonstrator, going to various grocery stores in the LA area, setting up a little table, and giving out samples of food, drinks, and whatnot. My employer was a third party company that represented many brands, so I got to demonstrate everything from ice cream to health bars to tea. I mostly went to Whole Foods to share the products, but sometimes I got sent to other grocery stores as well. For one brand, we actually did our work in Costco! I was pretty good at this job since I love interacting with people and I always carefully read and memorized all the selling points of the product. I did this job on and off for about two years because it was so flexible and I enjoyed it a lot.
I didn’t think to take many pictures so this is all I have – the collage on the wall from programs for the various shows.
When I returned from my year abroad, I interned with UCLA Live!
(apparently renamed the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA), which organized live performing arts events affiliated with the university. I was to help with their marketing, which I figured would be a good way to explore my other major, which was in psychology. I did a fair share of warm calls and emails to help promote the upcoming lineup of events for the season. I also had some cold calling to do to try to increase the database of potential attendees. While I didn’t help with the marketing strategy much, I did learn about it and did what I could to push it along.
Finally, when it came to my last summer – the one after my fourth year – I decided that I wanted to do something for myself. Every summer before, I’d gone out and done an internship. It was probably expected that I’d do one more since I was coming back for a final term in the fall and it wasn’t quite time to secure a job yet, but I wanted something else. I was suddenly reminded of my dream to be an Orientation Counselor. Back when I attended orientation, I had such a good time and saw the counselors having such a fantastic time that I told myself I wanted to become one someday. I then kind of forgot about it as the years went on and I learned so much. But then, somehow the idea crept back into my mind (or maybe it was in my subconscious the whole time) and it was now or never. If I was ever to be an OC, it had to be that summer, so I went for it. I was pretty nervous when I went to pick up the notification letter from the office. It was just a tiny letter so I couldn’t tell if it was good news or bad. I was pretty thrilled when I read “Congratulations!”
Part of the job was giving tours of the UCLA campus, where we shared many urban legends.
All of spring quarter, the orientation staff met twice a week to train. It was basically like taking another class, since it had quite a bit of homework and a big test at the end. We learned so much about the academic requirements for incoming freshmen vs. transfers, all the cool resources available to students, tons of students groups for so many interests, and just about every aspect of life at UCLA. Don’t worry, we had fun too! I made some great friends and even met Panda there. Serendipity brought us together! (More on that another day.) Once the summer started, it was intense fun and hard work. Session after session of students came and went, we helped them choose majors and pick classes, we took them on tours of campus, and we even performed some pretty amazing skits. On our days off, counselors had various bonding activities planned including a trip to Vegas, hanging out in the middle of the night to watch the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, and just plain enjoying each others’ company. I had a fantastic time!
That wraps up everything I did while I was an undergrad at UCLA. Stay tuned for the “real world” job experience I’ve had so far!
What did you fill your college summers with?