It has been three weeks since I've started my internship at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Since I've been here I have learned a lot about how things work in the real world; especially in the fields of tourism, event planning, and hospitality. Which, for any undergraduate reading this, I must say is completely different from college life. In college you go to classes, have multiple breaks in between, hang-out with friends, go home in the middle of the morning, sleep all day, etc. It's a really laid back lifestyle you get used to fairly quickly. But when you now have an actual obligation, where you have to be at work early every day, do work completely on your own (without the aid of a textbook for reference), work 40 hours a week, and work in a field that is business causal where the rule is absolutely no jeans or flip flops, life begins to set in.

I didn't know what to expect my first day here; I felt like the new kid on the block. Would people like me? Would I be able to complete the work load? Would I be able to do the work? Would I finally use the Pythagorean Theorem in my new job like all my high school math teachers said I would? All these questions and more danced around in my head as I was waiting in the lobby. But thankfully as of now, I can faithfully say that I have completely shaken off all the nerves and anxiety that had built up since October 2013. And I must say that this experience thus far has been an amazing one.

My job here is to oversee the social media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google+) for Florida Superior Small Lodging, Greater Fort Lauderdale Superior Small Lodging and Visit Lauderdale. So every day I consult with my superiors on what needs to be done, like posting new pictures and making statuses with the goal of (1) Attracting new people and (2) Getting the public involved. I do have other duties when it comes to working around the office, like putting together press kits, creating Hello Sunny welcome boxes, editing the website, compiling many promotions together, and miscellaneous things that need to be done. Since working here I see just how important it is to get people involved and how limited we are as an agency.

It is important to get people involved and noticing Fort Lauderdale because we are competing with other South Florida destinations: Palm Beach, Miami, The Keys. These places are already established of what they are; Miami is young and a party scene, while Palm Beach is more mature with high end shopping, and the Keys are laid back. So now we're in the ongoing process of determining who we are. I am excited to be a part of it. It feels good to be part of a team and working with individuals who are very influential in the field. This journey that I am on can only get better from here on out and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

-Zandrana Giles, Intern
Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau