I searched for summer internships during the spring of my junior year to try and get some experience, while having some fun. I had a friend who lived in San Diego, so my obvious thought was, "I'm going to find something in San Diego." I had visited with family previously, and it instantly became my favorite city. So it's safe to say the summer leading up to my senior year in college, I got lucky.
I didn't realize how lucky it would turn out until I finished my summer. VAVi Sport & Social Club took me in as a Sports Management and Event Planning intern, and let me tell you, it was A LOT of work. From the get go, I was tasked with market research, website management, project leader on some assignments, and any other tasks that helped this company function and eventually grow. This ranged from putting player information packets together to making sure each team member had a shirt size listed on their application to even setting up events.
I remember going to one of the many, many events they run. It was a flag football league, and I helped set up the fields with markers and even portable lights since it was going to run into the evening. I also helped hand out t-shirts, equipment, and flyers for the happy hour provided after the games finished.
I don't remember where the happy hour was located, but I remember passing out coupons for food and drinks and seeing how happy everyone was to be there. There were so many people; all excited about the league they were in, and being able to relax after a satisfying win, or loss. It's safe to say that not every league has to be super-competitive.
I spent over two months working for VAVi. I worked for an incredible staff, and most of them have moved on to different things. I've tried to keep up with those individuals as best I can, because the people of that team helped to define what kind of worker I really am. They provided me with the opportunity to be completely overwhelmed with my workload, but that point did not come.
I love VAVi, because they made me realize that I could push myself even further than I thought was possible. It made me stretch my boundaries during my senior year, and I became so much more involved and satisfied knowing that I wanted to keep that feeling; to always be useful and push myself to the brink knowing that I wasn't going to crack.
Just to be clear, my time at VAVi wasn't easy. Like I said before, it was a lot of work; yet, the people there showed me how to have fun while doing it knowing that it was okay to love what you do. Perhaps this was the first trigger that eventually led me on my quest to become a writer, to do something that I absolutely love.
I haven't had much contact with the current crew of VAVi, but it appears they have kept the same philosophy. It's okay to love what you do. I hope they know how much I appreciate that organization. I hope the staff of old knows it too.
At the end of my tenure as an intern, I was given permission to create an event just for the staff; it was my way to say thank you for an incredible ride. We played beach volleyball, and afterwards we grabbed some food and drinks at PB Bar & Grill (which was a great place). I felt so happy to be given the chance to let the entire team take a Friday off, so we could all have some fun. It happened to be my final Friday; my last day working for VAVi.
It was exciting to see how amped everyone else was to have their own event. I gave the event a name too, but I can't quite remember what random acronym-type name I crafted. Perhaps that means it was more cheesy than memorable. My last day had a lot of smiles and laughter. We hit up the beach, and people even brought friends along too. Our day ended after an extended happy hour.
It was bittersweet knowing my tenure was over and that these amazing people would not be in my life anymore. My friend and I were the last ones to leave. I think it was that moment when I realized how much they had done for me. I only hope they know, for me, that incredible ride hasn't stopped since.