Copenhagen Livin’

I’m officially in Copenhagen, Denmark (woohoo!) After only the first couple of days I can tell I am going to have the time of my life this semester. The only downside to studying abroad in Denmark is the prices! Everything is SO expensive. I knew coming into Copenhagen that everything was going to be bit pricey, but I never realized to what extent until I actually started purchasing things. Luckily, I spent a lot of time this summer when I was not interning trying to save up money for my trip. Unfortunately, it was pretty tricky to find a lot of time to make money while balancing a full time, unpaid internship. That is why I am so thankful for Dickinson’s Internship Grant. Without this grant, I would’ve had to pay for all the gas and added expenses that comes from doing a full time-internship on my own. I learned so many valuable things during my internship at the Springfield Armor and met so many great people. It was a great experience for me, so I am glad I was able to take advantage of this opportunity without worrying how I was going to pay for everything and still try to save up money for my semester abroad. If you are considering doing an internship and see that it is unpaid, don’t let that intimidate you! You should definitely check out and apply for Dickinson’s Internship Grant!

I was planning on posting some pictures that I’ve taken so far, but my laptop isn’t working, so that’s fun. So I’m crediting Google for this beautiful picture of Copenhagen…

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Connections and Confidence

My internship with the Springfield Armor came to an end and it was pretty bittersweet. Although I am incredibly excited to start the next chapter of my life and head to Denmark for the semester, I will greatly miss all the people I met at the Armor. The Armor is a small organization, one of the smallest in the NBA D-League, so I felt like I got to know everyone in the office well, no matter what department they were working in. The connections I made this summer were some of the most memorable parts of the internship, and the people I worked with have offered me so much advice and knowledge about the sports industry.

I would often sit down with my supervisor (the Director of PR) or the President and they would give me a lot of insight that I would never have gotten if I didn’t have my internship. They were great about making sure all my questions were asked and made sure I knew that I could come to them if I ever needed anything. They also offered me a lot of encouragement to go forward and pursue further sports opportunities. One-on-one meetings like these, where I was able to build strong relationships with my supervisors and co-workers, is one of the reasons I feel like internships are such a great opportunity for students to build their network. I will definitely keep in touch with my co-workers in the future and can’t wait to catch up in the winter at an Armor game.

When my internship came to an end, I thought back to my very first day and how nervous I was. I was so scared that I was going to mess something up or that I wouldn’t do a good job on any of my assignments/projects. If I could go back and start the internship all over again, I would try to have more confidence in myself. Mistakes are inevitable, so I need to stop worrying about making them and start learning that mistakes are all part of the learning process.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am so grateful for this internship. Having this experience will definitely help me go forward when looking for future opportunities. If you have the opportunity to do an internship, take it!

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Sharing the Cube

The first day of my internship, I highly overestimated the amount of time it would take me to drive to Springfield. I arrived at my internship site about a half hour early, so I decided to explore the area a bit. As the clock began to approach 8:30 (the start of my work day) I made my way over to the Armors’ office suite. I remember my heart racing. I was excited, but my nerves were definitely kicking in. When I got to the office, I saw I was still early as all the lights in the office were off and the doors were locked. I continued to walk around a bit more and ran into a girl about my age hanging around the outside of the office. I had been told by my supervisor that there was going to be another intern starting the same day I was, but I didn’t have much information about who it was. I had a hunch that this could be the other intern so I decided to approach her and introduce myself. Luckily, it turned out that she was the other intern (it would’ve been incredibly awkward if she wasn’t…) and we hung out and chatted before someone came to unlock the door. I didn’t realize it then, but that was the start of not only a great office relationship, but a friendship that will certainly continue past this summer. Cheesy, I know.

I could not imagine what my internship would’ve been like without working with Katie. We shared a cubicle, so we spent many hours working closely together and getting to know each other. We collaborated on the majority of assignments, which I found to be incredibly helpful. We both had different skill sets, so we complemented each other well and learned a lot from each other. If one of us was stuck on something, the other would always be there willing to help. If we were both stuck, we would do our best to figure it out together which certainly alleviated a lot of stress.

Not only did we connect inside the office, but we would spend our hour-long lunch break outside getting to know each other on a personal level (and trying to get tan). We discovered that we had a lot in common, but our favorite topic was about going abroad. I am going to be going abroad in the fall to Copenhagen, Denmark (woo!) and Katie was lucky enough to study last summer/fall in London and Ireland. I loved listening to all of her stories and got A LOT of great advice about spending a semester in Europe from her.

I’ve always been told, “You don’t always get to choose who you work with,” but I wouldn’t choose to share ‘the cube’ with anybody else.

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Experience with Photoshop Strongly Preferred

“Experience with Photoshop strongly preferred.” This qualification listing seemed to haunt me while I was searching for summer internship opportunities earlier in the year. I have never had an opportunity to use Photoshop in any capacity, yet it seemed almost all of the internships that I was interested in were looking for an intern with Photoshop experience. The Springfield Armor was no different. During my phone interview with the Director of PR and Marketing at the Armor, I remember him asking if I had any graphic design experience. My heart sank a little as I truthfully told him that I didn’t, but would be eager to learn. After getting off the phone I remember thinking…”Well, there goes that opportunity. I guess I’ll have to keep searching.” I was so excited when I found out I had been offered the Marketing and PR intern position, but the fact that I had no graphic design experienced still lingered in my head as I knew I would be expected to design flyers and other promotional pieces.

An image we made for a Facebook post congratulating Jason Kidd on becoming head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, our NBA affiliate.

An image we made for a Facebook post congratulating Jason Kidd on becoming head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, our NBA affiliate.

When I arrived to my internship on the first day, I met the other intern I would be working with. I was relieved to find out that she didn’t have any experience either. “Good, we can figure this out together,” I thought to myself. We spent a lot of the first week experimenting with Photoshop and looking up different tutorials on Youtube and various blog posts to grasp the basics. As I begin to near the end of my internship, I took a peak back at some of our earlier Photoshop efforts…yikes. Luckily, we have both improved and feel pretty comfortable navigating Photoshop and creating different graphics. Throughout our internship we designed graphics for various Facebook posts (including the Facebook cover photo), newsletter articles, flyers, website graphics, etc. We’re certainly not experts, but I feel like we’ve come a long way and learned a lot. We even found ourselves critiquing and commenting on some of the major league teams’ Photoshop images. “Not sure how I feel about the use of the outer glow on this one…” “I like the drop shadow here….” “Wow, this guy clearly has some great Photoshop skills…”

The Springfield Armor's current Facebook cover photo. (Like us on Facebook, facebook/springfieldarmor)

The Springfield Armor’s current Facebook cover photo. (Like us on Facebook, facebook/springfieldarmor)

Experience with Photoshop is a skill that I believe will become incredibly useful in the future when searching for other job opportunities, and I am thankful for getting this experience with the Springfield Armor.

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Ice Cream and Extra Cash

Although I am incredibly grateful for my internship opportunity this summer, having an unpaid internship isn’t easy. It’s been tough for me to squeeze in time to make some cash when I intern 8 and a half hours a day. For the past two summers I’ve worked at a local restaurant/golf range/ice cream place called Scotti’s and I’ve been lucky enough to pick up some long weekend shifts (sometimes 10 hours a day!) there this summer. My boss has even been nice enough to create some “mini shifts” for me during the week so that I can make some extra cash, so some days I head right to Scotti’s for a few hours after I’m done at the Springfield Armor office.

Even though the majority of my free time this summer has been spent at Scotti’s, I actually don’t mind it. I love my co-workers and, hey, I get free ice cream and delicious food so I can’t complain. Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, Scotti’s has some of the best food in town and it is ALWAYS busy! If you’re ever in Western Mass and looking for a good place to eat, make sure you stop by and check it out…I’ll make you a beautiful ice cream cone! (I’ve even been complimented on my ice cream craftsmanship in the caf at school.)

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Asides from working at Scotti’s to help alleviate some of the stresses that come from doing an unpaid internship, the internship grant has been a huge life saver! I’ve been able to use the grant money to help pay for the gas I use going to and from my internship everyday. Springfield is about a half hour away from my home in Northampton so I can’t even imagine how I would afford to do an unpaid internship without the grant.

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Please Don’t Kick the Mascot!

As an intern, one of my responsibilities’ is to accompany the team mascot to various community events. This has been one of my favorite tasks as I get the chance to interact with different community members who may or may not be familiar with the Springfield Armor. When I go to events I have a few different responsibilities. Sometimes I head the sales table and provide general information about the Armor and the various ticket packages we have available, but most often, and what I enjoy most, is following the mascot around for good photo opportunities that we can use on our social media pages later. The photos in this post are from the Westfield, MA Annual Pancake Breakfast that I attended last Thursday morning. (And, yes, I did get free pancakes.)

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I love to see how excited kids get over having our mascot, Steal, at these events. While some love the mascot and can’t seem to get enough of him, others run away screaming and crying. (I admit, our mascot is pretty terrifying…) A lot of kids like to take advantage of the fact that he is supposed to be a “Man of Steel” and kick him as hard as they can. Luckily, the parents are usually on standby to save our mascot from having too many welts on him. (It’s amazing how much strength 5 year olds have!) Below are some cute pictures of kids with our mascot, who has over the years acquired the nickname “Buckethead” (for obvious reasons).

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For the most part, other interns wear the mascot suit. Fortunately, I haven’t had to wear the suit yet and I’m knocking on wood that I won’t have to in this heat!

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Plumlee Gets the Pick

The Springfield Armor hosted their annual NBA Draft Watch Party on June 27th and it turned out to be a great event! Every year the Armor invites the public to come hang out with staff, the mascot, and members of the dance team at a local restaurant to watch the NBA Draft. The event was free to attend and featured free appetizers, door prizes, and more!

A lot of preparation went into the party and everyone in the office played a significant role in planning, coordinating, and executing different components of the event. In the weeks leading up to the draft, my job was to design flyers and other promotional materials to advertise the party. I was also responsible for generating interest on our social media sites. The picture below is an example of a post used to show some of the door prizes people could win.

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During the party I was in charge of our “Top Six” contest. Anyone who wanted to participate in the contest could fill out who they believed the top six draft picks were going to be and whoever got the most right would receive a prize. The contest generated a lot of interest and it was fun to see people joking around with their friends about who was going to be the top pick.(Only three people accurately chose Anthony Bennett as the No. 1 pick.)

The night ended up a success. There was a great turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Check out some of the pictures taken at the party!

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Other exciting news that came from the draft was the selection of Mason Plumlee! The Armor’s NBA affiliate, the Brooklyn Nets, drafted the 7’1″ center from Duke with their 22nd overall draft pick. Congrats Mason!

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Sometimes Procrastination Has Its Perks

As a Marketing and Public relations Intern with the Springfield Armor basketball team, the minor league affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, one of the most common questions I get asked by my friends and family is, “How did you find that job!?” My answer is simple…”Procrastinating.”

At the beginning of the spring semester when I was looking for a way to put off writing papers for my American Studies classes or studying for an upcoming business test, I spent my time searching the internet for summer internship postings. It was a way for me to think I was being productive, when in actuality, I knew I just didn’t want to start any schoolwork.

I’ve been an athlete all my life and sports have always been a passion of mine, so I knew I wanted to find an internship working in the sports industry. There are some great websites out there for people looking for job or internship opportunities in the sporting world, and I highly recommend checking them out if you’re searching for an internship in this industry. Besides finding opportunities posted directly on a team’s website (often found on the bottom under ‘careers’ or ‘employment opportunities’) there are sites such as workinsports.com and teamworkonline.com that helped me see what opportunities were out there. I ended up finding my internship posted on teamworkonline.com and I was able to submit my resume and cover letter right there on the website. Teamworkonline.com allows you to search for opportunities by sport, by location, or by team and a lot of teams utilize this site to post their internship openings. This site reminded me a lot of the Common App used to apply to college. You can fill out all your information right on the site and use it to apply for multiple opportunities, which I found incredibly helpful. (Just make sure your cover letter is unique to the internship you’re applying for!)

So my advice for anyone looking to score a summer internship is utilize your free time to search the web for postings. A little procrastination never hurt anyone.

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