Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Learning the Lingo

There has been a time in everyone’s life when they have been designated the “new kid”. When you look back at that moment you probably remember feeling off balance, out of the loop, some might even say a bit awkward. Then slowly but surely you adapt to your new environment and you wake up one morning and not only feel comfortable with your routine but more importantly you now possess a sense of belonging. This transition can be experienced anywhere from work to school and for most college students this summer at their internship. As an intern you strive to prove your capabilities as a young, educated professional in hopes of familiarizing yourself enough with a company that you become an asset in the office. One of the biggest disadvantages to making the transition from the “new kid (or new intern)” is time. A summer intern has three months or less to assimilate themselves within the values of the company culture and what I believe is the best way to do so is learning the lingo.

The most intimidating aspect of any new setting can be language barrier. The worst feeling for any intern is that first day when your boss gives you a list of responsibilities to complete and you feel as if they are speaking to you in gibberish. You don’t want to come off as completely incompetent so you nod your head in acknowledgement and get to work. This is only too applicable to myself when on my first day I was asked, “Will you put the line-up back together in the showroom and make sure we have enough picture packets and line sheets printed before the next appointment gets here” and “We’ve received new communications from the office in Italy, will you please update the swatch book? Also style A0134 needs to be barcoded before it’s sent to press”. In my head my response was, “HUH?!” but of course I responded with, “Yes of course, no problem at all”. It has been three weeks now since that first day and thanks to the patience of my boss and help from the fellow interns  I now know that line sheets are not literal pieces of lined paper and that each piece in the Ferretti collection not only has a style number but also a fabric code. Finally breaking through the language barrier is not only a relief but a rewarding experience. My only advice is being open to learning and admitting to yourself it’s okay to make a few mistakes along the way – realize it will take time (even if you don’t have that much of it).