I am not sure if many people really knew the details of my internship from a few years ago. Some might not even know that I had it. It is crazy to think that 3 years ago this week I was starting my first day. Sunday at church we were talking about stress/anxiety and the ways we try to deal with it.
Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I honestly can say that this is not how I prepared myself for the internship. I spent many nights wondering if it was the right thing to do. I probably convinced myself multiple times to stay at Bike Pedlar, but thankfully it was not the decision I stuck with. I am a creature of habit, so stepping out of my shell was not something I wanted to do. Yes I was enjoying being a mechanic at Bike Pedlar, but I didn’t spend 4 years getting my degree for that. So after leaving church to head back to work I realized how often worrying or stressing over something serves no purpose. Looking back at the internship I wonder why did I even bother being worried. Instead I should of embraced the opportunity and had the faith to know that everything would be fine.
Enter the opportunity of a lifetime.
I was offered the chance to intern at Abercrombie and Fitch in their Distribution Center. It meant leaving my job Bike Pedlar, Nashville, and everything I was comfortable with. I was leaving friends, family, and my comfort zone. Yes I would be living with two people that were good family friends, but outside of that it was all different. I don’t wear A&F clothes, I don’t like the cold weather up north, and I certainly have no toleration for Buckeye fans. So I packed up the bikes, then other non-essentials like clothes, and headed off to try something new. Obviously now that I know what happened I wonder why I even bothered stressing over it. Were there hard days? Yes. Did I miss Nashville and my family? Oh yeah. But I am thankful for everything about my months spent in Columbus. It was an incredible experience and I could never thank the amazing people I dealt with on a day to day basis enough for what they did.
So a bit of a back story about what was going on. I was getting to live with family friends of my parents. That part of the experience was indescribable. I got to live in a beautiful home, in a great part of town for my cycling, and with two of the greatest 2nd parents I could ask for. Sure they were Kentucky Wildcat fans, but we all have our own flaws. One of them was the SVP of supply chain at A&F. So he was the reason for this opportunity. It was very helpful being able to come home and pick the brain of someone with so much knowledge of the industry. Besides the internship I was able to visit an amazing zoo, go to a professional golf tournament, see a hockey game in a suite, and push myself daily to open up to the people I knew nothing about in a city I was lost in. I also was only about a mile from a Jet’s Pizza and Rita’s Italian Ice. Life was good.
As for the intern part, I had a 20 mile commute to the A&F campus. I say campus because that is exactly what it felt like. The culture on the campus was exactly what you would expect if you have been in the stores. They had the same pictures, clothes, and music. We actually were listening to the Christmas playlist in April since that was when they were doing mock store setups. There were two one million square foot DCs, and then within walking distance were all of the campus buildings for the pretty people. When the weather warmed up it was not uncommon to see people getting from one building to another by scooter. Oh, just in case you were wanting to know, EVERYONE was wearing A&F clothing, even in the DC. So after spending about $500 at a store I had a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to wear for a few months (both probably had holes in them).
My part of the internship meant getting to do just about everything. I started in the Trade Compliance with my intern leader for a few weeks. The main thing I learned from this part was how amazing the leader of my internship was. She helped me throughout the whole process, and to this day is someone I will always look up to and appreciate for what she did. Not only did she help guide me during the internship, but she worked with me on developing a formal resume and with interviews. The interview part was extremely beneficial since she set up many mock interviews with supervisors around the company. I have no doubt in my mind this is why I got the job I am at now.
Where I spent my time
After that I worked with the International Transportation Dept. I really enjoyed this part because I was able to sit in on many high up meetings on the pretty side of campus. I say the pretty side because that was where all the designers, merchants, etc worked. Next up were the weeks spent out in the DC, and this easily was my favorite. I loved being able to walk around and see the process flow. This place was huge, and there were so many things to see. There was receiving, quality assurance, direct pack (system for packing store orders), shipping, and then the beast known as Direct to Consumer or their online shipping.
Following this I worked with the International Distribution team which involved some VERY early phone conversations to some people in the Netherlands. Then I went to work with the Domestic Transportation team which dealt with store openings/closings and stock refreshers. At the very end I had to give a 45 minute presentation about the internship. A 45 minute solo presentation is stressful enough, but add in 15-20 supervisors/executives and you have me contemplating an escape by night.
It was an experience I learned so much about. No I didn’t care for the clothes, but it was eye-opening getting to see how large of an operation it was. My last day was spent giving the presentation and then going to a stable to help take pictures for the family friend I was staying with. It was a sad time, but also a great time since I was going back down south soon. (I had a brief detour to Chicago via Megabus)
Selene was somewhat happy with the situation
As for Columbus, Oh. I hated it, but I miss it also. I miss my one mile bike ride to the store, or how easy it was to ride to the greenway that headed to OSU’s campus. I think it would be hard for anyone to not miss. I spent many weekends alone in a house that had a hot tub, sauna, weight room, but best of all every Harry Potter book. This was the beginning of my obsession with HP, so blame Columbus. I still remember the weekend I picked up the first book and had it read in 2 days. (First step is admitting I have a problem) The one issue with the city was that the closest mountain bike trial was about 45 minutes from where I lived. This meant that I only got to ride my mountain bike once.
Another great part of the experience was that I knew an x-accord owner in the city. I am not even sure if I should even be classified as a photographer, but he certainly is. So it was great getting to tag along on some shoots to see what a pro does. It also meant we got to have some fun with the vehicles. I still wish I would of taken my old accord the day we were using his external flashes.
As I mentioned in my last post, one thing I was extremely excited to do was visit the zoo. It is probably one of the best in the U.S., if not the best. So on Mother’s Day since I was alone in Columbus I decided to take a visit.
As I mentioned before, my last day of the internship involved the long presentation, but then I was able to leave around lunchtime to go to an equestrian barn. They were starting a new program that specializes in therapeutic riding for kids. Since they were in the planning stages they were wanting some photos to highlight the stable itself, the staff/horses, and then some photos of the methods used for the kids.
Overall, I owe so much to the people that helped me during those months in Columbus. They pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, and taught me so much about the logistics industry. I can’t believe I was worried about the situation, and even contemplated not doing it. It almost scares me to think where I would be if I would of stayed in town.