It’s a Great Thing I never Transferred High Schools

This summer I received an internship at Earlybird, to say I was excited was an understatement. I always understood that experience is essential. However, it wasn’t until I joined the Earlybird team that I truly got a more clear idea of what experience looks like. When I was interviewed by Andrew Parnell, the CEO and founding partner of the company, I was left wanting to meet his team. He had explained to me that they work closely together and I thought that was great, being able to work one-on-one with each department, from the sales side to the production side.

I started my internship on July 6th, assigned to work with Eddie VanBogaert, the director of sales, as my supervisor. The internship started off wonderfully, the entire team was, and continues to be, welcoming and extremely helpful to work with. In a matter of about three weeks I’ve already learned a lot from the team at Earlybird. I learned things about writing a proposal for clients and closing deals to the ups and downs of law school and the means of wanting to become a lawyer. Earlybird is a software agency and aside from the technology, I have learned about politics and majors, colleges and managing a bank account. This internship is giving me the opportunity to learn from talented people of diverse backgrounds.

The director of sales, Eddie VanBogaert, was a city councilor of the city of West Lafayette, Indiana. He told me what it was like to be elected as a public official. Eddie was also a field manager for the Obama campaign from 2007–2008. I was curious to know more about that and he was open and answered the many questions I had for him. The information he gave back is great to have in case I do happen to pursue a position in politics. When Eddie was in college he was seriously considering law school. However, he explained to me what was going on and how it takes an extreme amount of hard work and dedication to become a lawyer and all the expenses that result from it. Eddie did not go through with law school and instead chose a different path that fit him better.

Recently I thought I knew what I wanted to pursue come high school graduation but as it turns out the saying, “the older you get, the more you learn” was more than right. I wanted to become a psychologist. It made sense at the time, a few years ago, and it still does. However, criminology is something I have also been interested in for such a long time. The idea of becoming a detective entered my mind. Being the “clever” girl that I am, I thought about doubling on criminal justice and psychology. It seemed like a fantastic idea my sophomore year of high school. I could become a homicide detective and use my degree in psychology to incorporate that and solve more crimes and catch more bad guys. Wouldn’t that be awesome, to become one of your many childhood heroes? But the idea of becoming a criminalist was soon pushed to the side when my mind was sunk in the oh so grand idea of becoming a lawyer. Up until now, I was set on working hard to do everything I possibly could to get ready for law school. Even if that meant majoring in philosophy or even economics. Luckily for me, I got to meet this excellent team.

Rich Hankison, the head of accounts and junior partner of the company, received a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Since the relationship between each department is really great and smooth, I was able to go to him for advice on how the law school experience was like and how he ended up working at a software agency. He offered me some truly valuable advice: job shadow. As Eddie was telling me prior to my encounter with Rich, those law students who do make it and do receive a position at a firm work about 60–70 hours a week. That’s including unbilled hours but hours worked nonetheless. Rich said that job shadowing is a great way to start because it gives you first hand knowledge on how lawyers work and gives you a chance to see if that career would still be something that’ll suit you. After listening to their much needed advice, I took some time and really thought about what I wanted- from psychology to practicing the law- and then I realized, I had not been as sure as I once thought I was. I am really grateful for the honest information they were giving me because it has guided me to a place where I can take time and actually see what fits me better.

As a little girl I loved watching the adventures of Jack Tripper and his friends on Three’s Company and the crazy situations Liz Lemon found herself on 30 Rock. Comedy has always been a true passion of mine that has followed me throughout childhood and now as I grow older. A twelve year old Abi dreamed about going to the Second City in Chicago. Tina Fey had gone there and so had Steve Carell. I grew up watching icons like John Ritter and Lucille Ball. Comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler continued to inspire me to pursue a dream I knew was just that: a dream. Now as an intern at a place I expected least to remind me of one of my childhood loves, I work with someone who met some of the people I enjoy watching on television. I work with someone who has been to the place I have yet to visit.

Boaz Reisman is the senior developer at Earlybird. He’s so nice and easy going that working with him is really fun. He attended Columbia University, told me what it was like studying there and how the environment was like overall. What initially caught my attention about him, however, was his musical background. He was a music composer, writer, and director. His main work was for none other than the Second City in Chicago. I was overly giddy with excitement, hoping that he would elaborate on his time there. Not only did he further elaborate on his experiences there but he also answered my many questions with detailed answers. He is good friends with writers of SNL and other shows. He also got to meet Jason Sudeikis, amongst other comedians. He told me of his time at Second City and how it was like working there. Maybe I’ll fulfill my dream soon enough.

Boaz is an excellent teacher about things technology and internet, but what I believe is the best thing I’ve learned from him so far- aside from our mutual love for the Second City -is his college advice. He attended Columbia University school of engineering, and later of performing arts. He described his time there along with the challenges he faced and how he overcame them. I appreciate him being upfront with us about how he had some trouble there. It gave me more perspective on what I should do when the time comes for me. He was telling me about how he didn’t quite understand his professors and how he didn’t stand up and ask questions until his senior year. Boaz also told us how he switched majors. That’s something I have heard from numerous people, from family members to teachers, and I don’t want to switch majors too late into my studies because I don’t want to waste time. I get so excited for things so easily most times, that something like that could make me even more anxious and impatient. Boaz encourages us to ask our professors questions and to take advantage of office hours because that’s why they’re there. He let us know that things won’t stop getting tough and that sometimes things won’t always turn out like you planned.

I entered this internship believing I knew what experience was and knew what it was that I was going to do when I graduate high school — what I was going to study, where I was going to study, and that college was going to be just how I have been imagining it — but now I have learned that things are not so simply planned ahead of time. Their experiences in school and on their various jobs have taught me that things can get complicated but they do not have to stop being fun. In the process of learning about my supervisors I got to learn a lot about myself. I am very eager to see what else I can learn from this team of awe-inspiring, considerate people. My internship here is one that I am thankful for and come August 14th, my internship will end and I will be leaving Earlybird, but Earlybird won’t be leaving me. The team here is the type of mentors we need. Professionals who could help us one-on-one and give us their first-hand advice on what the real world is actually like.