By: Be’ijz Smith
I’ve lived in Jacksonville for many years and I’ve only been downtown for academic reasons, like going to a tutoring session at the Main Library. After I graduated high school, I began attending Florida State University and I didn’t see myself coming back to Jacksonville; until I got to a point where I had to start looking for internships.
To be completely honest, looking for an internship was a pretty difficult process, mainly because I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do after graduation . Thankfully, I found the Downtown Vision internship through the alumni program at my high school, Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Even though my major is in Retail Entrepreneurship, I applied for the Marketing and Events internship at DVI because I have always loved the process of planning and creating events. I also wanted to improve my creative writing skills; especially because the internship description said I would be writing blog posts and other writing projects. Even though I lived in Jacksonville, I had never actually explored Downtown Jacksonville for myself. Fortunately, interning at DVI gave me a whole new perspective of #DTJax. Here are five things I’ve learned while interning at DVI:
Many people think that working downtown would be difficult because it seems very big and busy; however, I learned it was just the opposite. While planning Art walk, I had the opportunity to talk to local businesses and learn my way around. I realized that a lot of businesses knew each other and had made their own little community, making it feel less like a bustling downtown and more of a quaint “small town”. In the past, I’ve traveled to New York and Atlanta and their downtown is fast-paced; no one is really connecting with each other because they’re only worried about getting to their destination. However, interning at DVI, I saw how people actually cared about each other and the success of their businesses.
- Event Planning
Downtown has a lot of events going on whether you realize it or not. DVI hosts the First Wednesday Art Walk which is my favorite day of the month. I love seeing all the food trucks, performers, artists, and buying handmade trinkets from local vendors. But behind the scenes was more work than I imagined.
I was mainly part of setting up tables and lights before the vendors set up, but there are a lot of emails and phone calls that go into event planning. On top of that, dealing with issues that come up during the event. The whole process was a real eye opener for me, which I appreciated.
I like to be in the field setting things up for an event and managing other workers. Although I had more of a supporting role in this event, the experience I gained helped me pinpoint what I like- and don’t like- about event planning.
- “Hidden” Activities
While being an intern at DVI, I had many tasks to complete, like writing blogs and finding events for our online calendar. I started to realize that there’s a lot of things to do around #DTJax! For example: art classes at MOCA, yoga in Hemming Park and lots of festivals like Jax Taco Fest and Jazz Fest. #DTJax has a lot of hidden treasures that would definitely entertain you all year long!
- Food Trucks
I’m the type of person who likes to be outside and explore, so on my lunch breaks, I had the opportunity to wander around and find new places to eat. My personal favorite spot is the Happy grilled cheese because in the past, every time I tried to get one of their delicious sandwiches, they would run out of important ingredients like cheese, so I’m happy that I finally got to taste one.
I’ve also stumbled upon the Urban Food Court, where there are a variety of food trucks lined up. I’m a big foodie at heart, so I am always happy to find quirky and delicious treats anywhere I live.
I was never a fan of history class, but I’m currently working on a project about Downtown Jacksonville and the history of its buildings. I went on a self guided tour created by Visit Jacksonville that details unique architect in Downtown, and to my surprise, I found it quite interesting! Reading facts and stories about these historical buildings was fun, and wandering around gave me a better sense of direction in #DTJax.
Overall, this internship was a great experience for me! I learned a lot about myself as a worker and now, I know a lot more about #DTJax.
If you’re interested in having an experience like mine, check out Downtown Vision’s open internships here.