Running around a tiny counter slapping ice cream on to a cold stone with a line out the door.
That’s how I spent my summer.
I’m a rising college junior majoring in finance and accounting and you may be asking: “why did she work at Cold Stone instead of doing an internship?!” and you’re probably calling me unmotivated and a slacker too while you’re asking that.
However, my part time job at Cold Stone was as good, if not even better than a summer internship. Here’s why:
I’ve had some friends that sat behind a desk and typed in numbers all day long for 5 days a week this summer as their “internship”. Personally once I hear that I ask myself “did they really even develop any professional skills at all?!”
I mean really, sitting in a cubicle and doing people’s busy work can’t really be that beneficial can it? However, in many employers eyes, it’s great. They were in an office, interacted with other employees, and figured out how to type on excel- an employers dream.
That focus on office jobs and Excel skills are truly hurting employers when they hunt for recent grads or upcoming seniors to employ. So what someone survived an office job? SO many other young adults do.
However, I truly believe people don’t notice how many things part-time summer jobs DO teach college students.
I. Personally, after years of working at Stop and Shop, Olympia Sports, and Cold Stone I am literally a pro at customer service and talking to clients. Although these clients are just buying groceries and ice creams, I am still learning how to interact in a way that turns these clients into loyal customers. Look at the reviews for the Burlington MA Cold Stone, we are known for great customer service!
Whether your client is a hedge fund manager or a 35 year old mom of 4, you need to learn how to meet their needs and make them feel confident in you and their investment (whether thats in stocks or an ice cream cone).
II. I have often been asked in interviews “what type of environment do you work best in?” or something along those lines. Working at Stop and Shop during the Market Basket crisis and working at a busy ice cream shop has made me particularly comfortable with working in fast paced, high pressure environments.
Now you probably think I’m exaggerating, I mean whats so “high pressure” about scooping ice cream? WELL let me tell you:
I am a Key Holder, meaning I’m the girl in charge when my manager isn’t there. Aside from scooping ice cream, I’m decorating cakes, cookies, cupcakes, making ice cream from scratch, and restocking products. Basically, I (and my fellow shift leaders) are the reason Cold Stone operates day to day. Counting registers and being responsible for all of the cash, orders, and other employees is a lot for a 19 year old to handle. As you can see, many different tasks need to be done, often at the same time.
There’s so much pressure on you to satisfy customers by having products available; whether it’s cookies, cakes, or even just ice cream flavors and toppings. You also need to be working to satisfy your fellow employees. Whether it’s helping them with customers, the register, or restocking/getting products for them, they are depending on you to do it!
III. Overall, the management and customer service skills can be equal to, if not better, than the skills you’ll develop sitting at a desk typing numbers for 40 hours a week. Now I know not every internship is like this and some programs truly do develop you into a better leader and businessman or woman. However, from what I’ve heard from a lot of people (and from personal experience), this is what their first internship was like. I can promise you a kid busting his butt to make a $5 ice cream cone with a line out the door is better than a kid who can type numbers.
So for all of those employers out there reading this- I’m asking you to take a chance on a kid who wasn’t so lucky to have gotten an internship this summer. Don’t turn them away or think any less of them than you would with someone who had an office job. We have amazing qualities and skills too, we just have a different way of acquiring them!