By Ella R. ’19
For students, summer is often a time for traveling, relaxing, and generally taking a break from the rigors of school. Yet, for high schoolers being encouraged to apply for internships or similar programs, summer can feel almost as stressful as the rest of the year. The prospect of finding an appealing and accessible opportunity, applying, and then devoting a substantial portion of your free time to the program can often feel overwhelming.
However, internships can be not only manageable and helpful, but truly enjoyable, rewarding experiences.
Last summer, I participated in a month-long internship with Ocean’s Halo, a health food company specializing in seaweed products. I was able to apply for the position through Crystal’s domestic internship program, organized last year by Mr. Kwong. This program was extremely helpful in that it allowed me to both find internships and apply for them with the help of the school. Robert Mock, the CEO of Ocean’s Halo and a Crystal middle school parent, gave Mr. Kwong information about the company and the internship position. Crystal students interested in the internship were then able to submit a resume, cover letter, and written application to Mr. Kwong. Part of the application process also included an interview with Mr. Mock.
Once I received word that I had been accepted for the position, I spent time emailing Mr. Mock about my availability and interests. My internship ended up being 4 weeks long, from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Though each day was different, my tasks typically included packaging and shipping products, managing the company’s social media, and dealing with any special consumer questions or concerns. I was also able to accompany members of Ocean’s Halo to a few different sales calls, and I was even able to fly down to one of the company’s production centers in Los Angeles for the day.
I was given a lot of independence throughout the day, which was one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience. If I was unsure of how to do something, Mr. Mock and the other employees were happy to assist; however, I was granted a lot of responsibility and was not being constantly supervised. Not only did this system allow me to learn valuable time-management skills, but I also found myself growing increasingly self-reliant and able to approach any issues that arose throughout the day with more confidence. By the end of the internship, I was no longer turning to someone else for help whenever there was a problem, but rather comfortable in my problem-solving abilities and able to deal with most complications on my own.
During my internship, Ocean’s Halo happened to be in the midst of developing a new product, a type of fruit-flavored drink. This made for some very exciting opportunities for me, as I was able to really see everything that goes into the creation and sales of a new item. I was given an active role in the development of the beverage, from researching the price and nutritional components of competing products to brainstorming flavors and appealing adjectives to describe them. These drinks are just coming into stores now, and it is so exciting to think about the role that I played in their creation.
Reflecting on my experience at Ocean’s Halo, I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and so glad that I applied for the program. I was initially skeptical about even looking into the internship; the application process seemed overwhelming, and I was unsure that, if I was accepted, I would enjoy it at all. Taking the first step of applying really made a difference for me, as it eventually led me to an extremely enjoyable month with Ocean’s Halo. Though applying for an internship can often be stressful or scary, particularly if you are new to assembling a resume or writing a cover letter, remember that the opportunities it can open up are well worth it.
Another thing to keep in mind it that Crystal has lots of resources that can be very helpful during the process. Last year, there were several events aimed at helping students prepare their resume and complete other parts of internship applications.
If you are considering applying for an internship this coming summer, I encourage you to thoroughly research the opportunities available to you: it is so important to find a program that genuinely interests you, even if you do not have a lot of experience in the specific area. For many internships, the skills you need are not necessarily specific to a certain field, and the more specialized abilities are taught on the job. For myself, I knew little about the way a small start-up like Ocean’s Halo worked, but I was still able to apply more general skills and learn a lot over the course of my internship.