My best friend, Arpitha, and I both sit on the executive board for the professional board of our major, Industrial Engineering, at Purdue. I’m so grateful to have a best friend who is just as motivated and ambitious as I am so that we form sort a front against people who question our straight-forward methods to pursue our goals.
I remember the first time I met her she was sitting at a desk her back facing me probably doing some tedious calculus three homework. I had just heard that she had received an internship from GE Aviation, and at the time we were both sophomores so internships were quite hard to come by. To be completely honest, I was slightly envious, not so much so that I harbored negative feelings towards her but it was enough for my curious self to want to talk to her and initially just network with her.
So I walked up towards her seat and gently tapped her shoulder, and as soon as she turned around, I awkwardly blurted out, “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR INTERNSHIP, I HEARD YOU GOT ONE FROM GE.” Her face turned from confusion to almost embarrassment, given the humble person she is, and having me scream her recent accomplishment in her face in the lobby of the Industrial Engineering building (Grissom Hall), was probably not ideal. However her face soften, and I could tell she forgave me because she told me thank you in a much less obtrusive tone than my own, and I asked her how she got this job, and she said my mentality was “internship or die,” and the motto stuck with me (along with her haha).
Fast forward about two semesters. There I was standing in front of this guy named, Nick, who I had been meaning to connect with the whole semester, but since he was a senior he wasn’t as active of a member on our professional board (IIE) as I was. Rumor says that Nick had experience working with ESPN, BIG10, and the Purdue Athletic Office and these were all positions that did not recruit, so I figured my only way to get my shoe in the door was make a good impression on Nick and hope he recommends me for the position he currently works before he graduates.
Red solo cup in hand, I tried to seem casual asking him where he was from and why he chose industrial engineering. Though I had a drink in my hand, I made a point to not sip on it because I knew I only get to make a first impression once. Nick was a great guy was seemed to be very open to his life and experiences and definitely his passion for sports. By the end of the night I had gotten the secretary, her phone number, her email of the office he worked for. I had gotten a list of classes I could take to ensure that I knew my stuff for this class, and I had made a new friend and professional network.
From the featured picture above you can see that I eventually did get that job, for the fall of my junior year I had the privilege of becoming one of the two game day hosts for Purdue Athletics and I got to see all the magic happen behind the scenes alongside the BIG10 announcers, statisticians, and coaches in the press boxes during the football games.
All this would not have been possible, had I not adopted Arpitha’s motto of “internship or die” going into the semester. This is the beginning of how I began actually working in the sports industry and not just being a optimistic blogger.