My Internship Experience: “I can do that!”

Internship word cloud

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 has been replaced by “I can do that!”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.