I can finally breathe. I can finally relax. I can finally refresh my email without an irrational fear of seeing a rejection note. I can finally give a solid answer when asked, "Ashley, what are you doing this summer?"
Last summer consisted of my first ever internship in DC along with my study abroad program in Milan. Both changed my life exponentially and motivated me to work even harder to pursue my goals. I felt so blessed to have these experiences and I immediately thought about what I wanted to do next.
I bought a planner in August 2015, immediately turned to the June 2016 page and wrote, "Move to NYC..."
I knew at the time that interning in New York would be the most natural step in my undergraduate career, especially because this is where I want to live after I graduate in May 2017. I scoured the internet for opportunities but no applications were open for the summer.
Ketchum, one of the world's largest PR firms. This stayed on my mind from November to January, when the application finally opened.
From January to April, I devoted myself to this fellowship. I immersed myself in the company and researched it as if it were my senior thesis. I only told my close family and one or two of my friends that I was applying. I didn't want to make a big deal about it in case I didn't get it.
I was consumed. I'm not lying when I tell you I dreamt about this fellowship! It's all I could think about even though I had a tsunami of school work and prior commitments rushing at me in every direction. I stayed focused. I remembered what I wrote in my planner many months ago. I had to devote myself to this application.
After an undisclosed number of phone interviews and sets of writing samples, cover letters and follow up emails, I got the call.
I was in class when the New York number showed up on my phone. I left the room without hesitation and heard the wonderful HR manager say "Congratulations, Ashley! You've been selected for the Ketchum Summer Fellows program!"
After the conversation with the HR manager, I hung up the phone and began to cry. Let's be real. I sobbed. Tears of pure joy! I was so overwhelmed with happiness and I felt so proud of myself for securing this position.
Over 500 people applied and they selected 14 individuals... To be one of those 14 makes me smile more than anything ever has before. I turned back to the same page I wrote about moving to NYC back in August 2015. I wrote down the June 2016 start date of my fellowship.
I hope this post demonstrates the power of planning ahead. People will question you, people will laugh at you. The thing to remember: no one else IS you. With the right mindset and the right work ethic, planning ahead will get you wherever you want to be. Even somewhere like New York City.
Get ready for my blog to flood with New York stories this summer. You can't say I didn't warn you!