I decided to work for Southwest Airlines’ Revenue Management department this summer because I knew that the experience would take me to new heights on multiple levels. I have never stepped foot as far south as the fabled state of Texas. I half expected everyone to wear cowboy hats and spurs on the heels of their boots. Second off, I did not know a single person that works at Southwest. I knew that I would get plenty of opportunities to work on my social skills which is an area that I could always use some improvement in. Additionally, this was my first serious internship and seemed like it would be a lot different from the YMCA camp that I worked at for the previous two summers. While I was excited for my intellect to be challenged, spending an entire summer in an office did not sound like something I was into. I wanted to give the office lifestyle a chance before counting it out so I packed the bare necessities for a three month internship into two suitcases and got on a Southwest flight from Detroit to Dallas.
When I stepped off the plane in Dallas I felt more independent and grown up than ever. I picked up my rental car and drove over to what would be my home for the next three months. Being the first of four roommates to move in, it was a bit daunting to open the door to an entirely empty apartment. Luckily, two of my roommates are Texans and filled out the empty corners with furniture, kitchen necessities, and a game cube that has gotten way too much of our attention. They showed me what southern hospitality looks like and made me feel confident that making friends here would not be an issue.
The first day of work was orientation for the 162-person strong intern class. Being clapped and cheered at as we walked down the halls of headquarters and into the orientation room confirmed everything that I heard about the Southwest culture. I instantly felt welcomed and went on to meet incredibly nice people throughout the day. It was reviving to see that the people I would spend the summer with were ones that I really wanted to be around. The orientation itself was educational and made me feel like I picked the right company to work at.
I spent the rest of the week in Revenue Management specific training. My internship consists of classroom style learning for the first few weeks, one on one shadowing for the following two, and regular work for the remainder of it. Although being in a classroom was not how I wanted to spend any part of my summer, I have learned more about the airline industry than I ever thought I would know. I appreciate the resources and effort that Southwest puts into training their interns. It really goes to show how much they care about the future of the company. The fact that everyone that is a part of my training program is extremely nice and embodies Southwest culture adds a factor of lighthearted fun to the classroom environment. I can tell that we’ll all get close over the next few weeks as we spend most of every day together. Anybody that has worked at an overnight summer camp knows how amazing the environment is and how close you become with your coworkers. I did not think that I would ever experience a better environment than the one at my camp but so far Southwest has at the very least matched it. My first week here has shown me that working in an office is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Southwest has reinforced what I learned at camp; that people are the most vital facet of whatever you do and wherever you are.