My final week at Southwest could not have been more representative of my entire internship experience as I focused on wrapping up my work and enjoyed the company of my coworkers before our time together ran out. I spent the first few days of the week wrapping up managing my markets before passing them on to the person taking over after my internship. I made sure to pay extra attention to the quickly approaching Labor Day holiday and a few other important upcoming dates. My final task as a market analyst was to write up strategies for each of my markets to give its next owner a better idea of what he or she was getting into. When I wasn’t working on those tasks, I was finishing up my project evaluating the importance of the annual North American International Auto Show held in Detroit and presented my findings to my manager. The rest of the week was a bit more laid back as intern events such as hangar tours became more frequent.
To cap off our experience, the Campus Reach team that organized our entire program held an intern graduation ceremony for our 162-strong class. I will admit that I was reluctant to go to the event when I first heard of it because of how corny it sounded and how dreadful graduations can be. However, it couldn’t have gone any better and much like the rest of my experiences at Southwest, it exceeded my expectations greatly. The ceremony consisted of a guest speaker who talked about his career path and gave us advice as young professionals. His speech was followed by the calling of each intern and the distribution of awards. Nominations ranged from serious ones given to individuals who stood out for each of the three pillars of a Southwest attitude including a Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart, and Fun LUVing Attitude to ones that originated from inside jokes among the interns. The graduation was attended by all the interns, some of their families, friends, managers, and colleagues totaling to over 400 people.
Following graduation, I spent a lot of time asking my mentors and other coworkers that I had gotten close with for feedback and constructive criticism based on my performance over the past three months. I received a lot of good critique and advice that will help me moving forward. It was pleasant to see that so many people who I looked up to took the time to provide me with quality input. Their genuine responses made me feel even more appreciated than I already did throughout the internship.
The best moment of the week came when my team called me in to a conference room and surprised me with a Boeing 737 MAX 800 Southwest model signed by each team member. The gesture made me speechless to the point that all I could muster up was a thank you and not much else. Luckily, one of my mentors, Brandon, diffused the situation by diverting the attention to himself by cracking some jokes. The surprise was followed by an ice cream social with our entire department where all the interns got to say our goodbyes before packing our cubicles and getting on our way.
Walking out the front doors of headquarters was a sad ordeal but I exited appreciative of all the amazing people that I met and thankful for the new knowledge that I gained. Although I had never imagined that I would work for Southwest before doing so this summer, I can’t think of a better place to spend my time than here. I only have good things to say about the company and my experience as an intern which changed my outlook on a corporate lifestyle for the better. I plan on going back home and encouraging all of my friends to at least apply for a position at Southwest because I know that they will leave the company as a more well-rounded individual and a more knowledgeable professional.