What I Wish I Knew Before Beginning my Los Angeles Summer

Before starting my summer internship in Los Angeles, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know what my life was going to be like, or if I was prepared to move far away and make it on my own. Making the move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles took a huge leap of faith. Now that I’m settled, there are a lot of differences I’ve noticed between cities in the Midwest and West Coast. I could try and prepare all I wanted, but as advice to the next crew of interns, here are some things that I wish I knew before starting my internship in Los Angeles.



LA traffic

There is a reason this is a common phrase. It’s a phenomenon all of its own. When I was warned how long it would take me to commute I thought, “I’ve done this before, I’ll be fine giving myself 20, maybe 30 minutes to get somewhere”. This was entirely untrue. Now I know that giving myself an hour to drive around 15 miles is a safe bet.


Bring the Band Aids

Wearing professional shoes during your internship will cause discomfort and blisters, so best be prepared with Band-Aids and the Neosporin. This is far different from the usual tennis shoes, Birkenstocks or Ugg boots that are seen adorning the feet of many young women during the school year, but I guess this is a part of growing up.


When native Californians say “it’s cold”, ignore them

Being native of a very northern, landlocked state, my definition of cold is a bit different than the average native-Californian. Out here, “cold” temperatures equate to around 60 degrees, while my definition is somewhere around the 10 degree mark. My point, take it with a grain of salt when you hear someone say that it’s cold outside.


If you forget any sort of charger, you are seriously in trouble

With a marketing and public relations internship, you are constantly using your phone and laptop, to write pitches, check email, monitor Instagram, etc. If one of those dies during the workday and you are without a charger, it’s best just to lie down in defeat. You aren’t getting anything else done. Not to mention, if I leave the office with a dead phone, there’s a good chance I’ll get lost on the way home.


Learn to like your vegetables

Believe it or not, vegetables are trendy in Los Angeles; the number of health-food restaurants and juice bars far outnumber that of the Midwest. In order to feel like you’re doing the whole LA thing correctly, learn to like them.


Become an expert at parallel parking

To continue on the topic of driving in LA, I wish I knew how often I would have to parallel park. We all had to pass this portion of our driving tests, but for me I haven’t had to revisit it since. Having a little more practice before moving would have been helpful to me and my car.


Business casual actually means business casual

Maybe it’s the relaxed California lifestyle, but dressing in a casual manner to work, is definitely acceptable. Especially while working within the fashion industry, choosing clothing each day is fun and you’re encouraged to show off your personal style.


Dogs are everywhere

As one of many dog lovers, it’s hard to contain my excitement when I see one in public. Unfortunately for me, they are everywhere and I’ve really had to restrain myself and learn how to keep my cool. Whether it’s at work, driving, or even at Target; dogs will always be right next to their owners loyally enjoying their privileges as pets in the state of California.


Having fun is not frowned upon

I am here for an internship to gain professional experience that will enhance my resume and ability to receive a full time position after graduation. However, I am also here to enjoy my summer in a new city that so many people adore. I wish I would’ve thought this way from the beginning and known not to take everything so seriously. For the rest of my time here, I’m taking full advantage of all Los Angeles has to offer!


As with any city, there are pros + cons to living in Los Angeles however I think my time here will stick with me and I certainly won’t go home the same person I was coming out here. All changes being for the better, I think I will leave a much more confident and street savvy version of myself. LA takes some getting used to, but once you see past the initial differences, you can appreciate the sheer beauty of the city. The many people from all walks of life who call this place home, the cultural differences that make us all unique, and I can now say I’ve discovered why so many people dream about making a life here. It’s truly unique and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to make this place my temporary home.

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