The value of an internship is one that is up for debate among many college students. While some may think it’s just another item to put on their resume, others see it as an authentic way to prepare oneself for the real world. It wasn’t until after interning with Van Eperen that I gained a better sense of the value internships can provide for aspiring professionals.
Throughout my coursework it has been mostly assumed that since we’re millennials we should already know how to do social media for public relations. The thing is, doing social media for personal use and professional use are two different tasks. Thankfully, I was able to gain experience developing social media content for clients and the agency itself after working here at Van Eperen. In a world that is becoming more digital focused, it was essential to me to gain more practice in the digital space before graduation.
While social media is certainly important for public relations, one should consider that it is only a piece of the puzzle that practitioners try to solve each day. Other aspects of PR include media outreach and public outreach, which I was also fortunate to get experience with. Assignments like media pitching and attending outreach events gave me insight into how to interact successfully with a variety of audiences.
Perhaps one of the most valuable parts of interning was the practical application of the concepts that I was taught in college. It was refreshing to personally experience abstract communication theories in real world situations and showcase the writing skills that I have been developing over the course of my college career.
Though it may not come as a shock to many that an internship provides professional value from experiences I previously mentioned, I was surprised to learn how much personal value I also received. One thing that comes to mind is developing my collaboration skills. While interning I frequently observed client calls, attended meetings and brainstorm sessions. Each of these experiences demonstrated the importance collaboration plays in effective communication and innovation.
On the contrary, I also feel like I’ve gained a great sense of independence. With having to meet deadlines I learned the importance of time management and taking responsibility for everything I completed. Additionally, there were unplanned assignments I had to take on while working on others, teaching me how to improvise and think on my feet.
After completing my internship with Van Eperen, there are three takeaways I can offer to prospective interns:
First – don’t be afraid to ask questions. It helps both you and everyone else if you’re able to get on the same page by asking questions.
Second – it’s okay to make mistakes! Without receiving advice and revisions on my work, I wouldn’t have been able to improve my writing abilities.
Last but not least – time flies. Make the most of any opportunity you get because it will be over before you know it!
The culmination of my internship experience allows me to confidently say that I’m prepared for the world of public relations.
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