This summer, I am interning with The Hershey Company. Almost every person who knows me well reacted to the news of my internship similarly: “What a great opportunity for you – you love chocolate!”
My job at Hershey has been so much more than eating chocolate. It has been a learning experience – of the company; of the industry; of the field; and of myself. One of the many company-learning adventures was a visit to Hershey’s main museum where the president of the Hershey archives took myself and my fellow communications interns on a personal, in-depth tour of everything Hershey – the man, the company and the town.
One feature of the museum is a timeline of the company and its brands. Our tour guide pointed to one of the products introduced in the 20th century and asked, “Have you ever tried the one-pound Hershey’s Chocolate Bar?”
Suddenly, a grade school memory crept forth; I smiled.
On the first day of fourth grade, my teacher promised me something that would carry me through the rest of that year. She promised that if any student in the class did not miss any homework assignments for the entire year, she would give that student a one-pound Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar.
On the last day of fourth grade, I was the only person in my class of 50-or-so children to receive the promised one-pound Hershey’s Chocolate Bar.
As an 11-year-old, not missing an entire assignment for an entire academic year was not as easy as eating chocolate. However, that year of taking the extra effort to be exceptionally responsible in school helped me create a good work ethic, which has pushed me through my academics and pre-professional endeavors since.
Over the years, my motivation to succeed and stay focused has transformed from the desire of a one-pound chocolate bar to wanting a long and meaningful career. My passion lies in communications, and the best action plan right now to set myself up for a successful career is to learn as much as I can in college classes and in internships without missing an assignment or work task.
As a motivated fourth-grader, I thought I was merely working for a chocolate bar. Today, I know that going the extra mile to earn that candy bar taught me that (1) I love chocolate; and (2) I am capable of hard work and staying focused.
The lessons learned from earning that candy bar in 2006 helped me land the internship at the company that makes that very candy bar in 2017. It is so sweet how the world works sometimes.