by Erin Ford,
Pennsylvania State University, Class of 2015
Throughout my summer, whether at family barbecues or coffee dates with friends, the same question inevitably came up: “What do you do at your internship?”
I had a generic answer prepared: media lists, press releases, clip logs, research…but unless the person was familiar with public relations, they had no idea what those words meant. With my stock answer, I never felt as though my experience at Success Communications was being adequately explained. I did a lot of things at my internship — I was introduced to and took on almost every task and responsibility of the entry-level PR professional. Day after day, there was a great deal of doing — so much that it couldn’t be boiled down into a stock sentence.
The problem wasn’t my answer, though. It was the question. Instead of what I did at my internship, what about “What did you learn?”
What I realize now is that amid all the doing, I was learning even more. I learned without even realizing that I was learning. Before my internship, public relations buzz words that were just that — buzzzz — now have meaning. “What is that?” has been replaced by “I can do that!” But the things I learned stretch far beyond the public relations industry. I learned to take initiative and do more than is requested of me. I learned to ask questions and make suggestions. I learned the value of writing down and saving everything. I learned cubicles aren’t half bad … coffee is a wonder drug … and that I never want to return to the food service industry.
Interning at Success Communications not only provided me practical, professional knowledge, it also gave me a much clearer vision of where I want to head next. And that’s something I’m ever so grateful for.