By: Samantha Stilson (Class of 2017)

The first day I walked into Rebound Bookstore for my senior year internship, my employer didn’t recognize me. I had the good fortune to realize this a few moments into this first professional encounter, scrambling to introduce myself with more detail, but could not save myself from its terribly awkward start. A great tragedy. What can you do.

I did not realize at the time that by beginning something with a social catastrophe, that thing really can do nothing but get better, at least relative to one’s start. The moment after my identity was realized, I was welcomed into the Rebound Crew. Joel and Toni, my intern supervisors, have been married for 28 years, own and run Rebound, and have afternoon tea with fantastically scandalous amounts of sugar. My kind of people. The shop, a total entity of its own, is fairly magical, home to two finches, and comfortably houses rather more books than were probably intended for it. My kind of place. I would come to look forward to each day I spent at Rebound, learning the shop, drinking tea, and slowly becoming magical.

My first task, however, had less to do do with tea and more to do with exercise. Rebound helps to put on a literature festival in San Rafael, Litquake, every year, and my feet and I were thrust into the middle of it. It was through planning for and executing Litquake that I learned about many important aspects of running a successful business, including connection with the locals, persistence persistence persistence, and ice cream. Before working with Joel, I assumed most of the publicity for Litquake would be done online, perhaps through blast emails or a book lover’s forum. But after walking into almost every store on San Rafael’s Fourth Street, and plenty more in Terra Linda, I began to expand my narrow-minded perception of marketing. I was shocked that Joel was on a first name basis with over half of the business owners we visited on Fourth Street, and many were happy to put Litquake posters in their windows or break rooms. Clearly they didn’t mind doing him the favor, especially because he was standing directly in front of them. The strategy seemed to be just as effective, if not more so, than posts online. Together, he and I probably walked the entire length of west end Fourth Street three times (both ways!) giving out posters, flyers, pamphlets, and bookmarks to both local businesses and people we ran into on the street.

Despite Joel’s copious connections, we and our flyers were initially turned down many times. But, as I have come to learn, it is truly the moment right after the original rejection that makes or breaks you. In learning to adopt the infallible attitude that everyone secretly craved Litquake information, and making up excuses for them to take what I had, I broke through a marketing conundrum that had stumped me for years: the ignored email. Forget “following up”. I’ll show up at your house (or business, really). It is incredibly difficult for people to ignore your event when it is your third visit and you just printed out more flyers.

Not surprisingly, walking all over Fourth Street, especially in California’s autumn, can be quite the exhausting endeavor. And, as any good advertiser knows, nobody wants to listen to a hot mess of an intern talk about books. Therefore, as a necessary and professional measure, upon reaching the other end of Fourth Street, Joel and I get ice cream (don’t tell Toni :) ). It’s the best part of my whole day. Quite fitting to end a blog post with. Our walk back to the shop is slightly more relaxed as we have ice cream in tow and generally do the busier side of the street first.

Though I feel like the internship is something I have been doing for months, I realize that I still have most of this academic year ahead of me. It’s a fact that excites me, as I think about the skills I can learn and the tea I can drink. I imagine (and hope) that I’ll be ranting on about something entirely different in the next blog, learning about new things in new ways. Until then, I will continue walking, talking, and growing my magic. Visit Rebound if you don’t believe me.

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By Nick Slanec (Class of 2017)

Hi, I’m Nick Slanec and I’m doing my internship at the San Rafael Airport. The very first challenge I was faced with when starting this internship was finding out how to get there. The bridge that normally was the route to the airport was closed off for maintenance, so I had to find another way around. After about 20 minutes of skulking around the perimeter of the property, I found my entrance.

The San Rafael Airport is a small airport, with only a handful of employees on site. It’s a very professional environment, and the offices are very well kept. I was given a desk in Bob’s office, along with a monitor and ethernet cable. Bob is my internship mentor and basically runs the airport. My current task is populating a large spreadsheet with data from the site’s electric bills since 2015. This is a fairly large challenge, and I have had to find creative ways to lessen the load. In order to do this, I needed to learn how to efficiently work in Google Spreadsheets. I have learned how to use functions in the spreadsheets, so some cells will be populated using the information from other cells. I actually used this knowledge in my econ class recently, it saved me hours of work. After I finish the spreadsheets for the airport, I will start working on remaking their website.

When I started this internship, I didn't have any specific things I wanted to learn. I just wanted to soak up the experience of being in a professional environment. This mindset still holds true, and I have learned a lot in the two months I’ve been here. Remember that bridge that was closed off for maintenance? It’s owned by the airport, and it is actually being rebuilt. The entire bridge is being taken down and a new one is being put up in its place. Bob is managing the construction of this bridge, coordinating all of the contractors, cranes, trucks, etc. Learning how this management works is exactly the kind of experience I’m looking for. The great part about it is: I don't need to be specifically taught about how to do these things, I can just observe what everyone else is doing. Familiarizing myself with professional environments gives me a leg up when I get a job after college, and that is a very valuable experience.

I have been having a lot of fun at the San Rafael Airport, and I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store. Getting an experience like this at my age is rare, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

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By Evann Schultz (Class of 2017)

As one of two high school interns at EDG Design this year, I have had the pleasure of working in the company’s chic office in Hangar 7 of Hamilton, Novato and working with the head of the company, Jennifer Johanson, to create a presentation for her employees. The focus of my project and presentation is urban agriculture, both in design and technology.

This internship, although eye-opening and creatively-stimulating, has come with a challenge: time. With school, work, college applications, a class at College of Marin two days a week, and ASB events, finding four hours a week (not on weekends or past five p.m.) has been difficult. I have taken advantage of my third period gap and been driving to Novato after first period and returning back to school after lunch for fifth period calculus. It’s exhausting! But because it is the only free time I can offer EDG that corresponds with their office hours, I am making it work. I have had to sacrifice lunches with friends, link crew meetings, and college admissions talks. The leaders of these events have been understanding of my situation, though. I love the internship placement I applied for and received and I don’t think I would trade the experience of working in the artistic atmosphere for a couple extra minutes of lunch with my friends. I am excited to present my presentation to the firm and receive the (hopefully positive) feedback from my audience that will make the additional thirty minutes of driving worth it.

As basic as it seems, I have learned the professional behavior required to work in an office from my time at EDG Design. At my past jobs, the casual environment has allowed me to slip into some informal characteristics in the workplace. At EDG, many of the employees are young, hip, indie-types who walk around laughing and listening to headphones but that does not diminish the formal vibe in Hangar 7. I have learned from my time in this office that I shouldn’t blow bubbles with my gum while working on my computer--no matter how mindless it has become. I have learned that pulling my knees up to my chest in my chair probably isn’t the most appropriate position to sit in. I’ve also learned that some of the outfits I wear to school aren’t the same ones I should wear to my internship. Luckily I caught on to these things before anyone had to inform me, but I still sometimes catch myself feeding into my oh-too-casual habits.

I tend to think of myself as someone who is good at talking with adults. At the office I have definitely had my fair share of conversations with employees, all being adults or college students. I have improved how I introduce myself in a professional manner and hold conversations with people who are often several years older than me. This is an important skill in any workplace and in the “real world” so I am happy to be able to improve on it.

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By Kenny Mack (Class of 2017)

One of the first challenges I faced entering the internship was understanding the expectation of my employer, and what my role in the development of the Barbara George Learning Center would be. Now obviously this was a barrier I needed to get over quickly if I
wanted to be a productive member of Marin Clean Energy. I made it clear to my team at our first meeting for the Learning Center that I wanted to be given tasks right away. As soon as I got the role to work on the timeline display, I felt included in the group and understood what the expectation for me where. One lesson I have learned in my internship so far is to take up tasks as I go. Not all tasks take the same amount of time to complete. For example I was assigned to email an outside partner to set up a meeting at MCE. This took much longer than I anticipated, spanning over multiple work days to coordinate dates with all the members, I had other tasks to work on but was unable to get to them because I was too busy with the meeting. On the other side of the spectrum however, I have been assigned tasks that only take me 20 to 30 minutes to complete. When this happened I end up feeling somewhat useless until I pick up new tasks during the next weekly meeting. Sometimes it is not obvious how long researching, communicating, or planning will take, and that’s why I now take on tasks as I go.

Through my internship work and experience, one skill I am currently improving is communication. There are a lot of moving parts and people involved in the development of the Barbara George Learning Center, and MCE expects of me, just like they expect of all their employees, that everyone is on the same page. This means we share our information online via our google spreadsheet and shared folder, as well as during our weekly meetings. I also have to check my emails to communicate with members who might not be in the office that day, or for responses from our community partners. I receive and respond to emails more frequently than I ever have in my entire life. The environment can sometimes seem overwhelming at least in comparison to the level of exchanging information I do  outside of MCE, but that is why communication is such a valuable skill for this internship.

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