I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what to say in this, and where to start, but I think I’ll start my internship by thinking about the purpose of an internship itself. I think work experience in a field is very different from theoretical. You might imagine your dream job or career and see it going a certain way, but once you work in that field see that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. I think that’s precisely what I had hoped to achieve with this internship; an awakening, and an awakening I got.
My regular day as an H4L intern consists of waking up, grabbing a coffee, looking through my tasks, grabbing my laptop and staying on it for 6 hours on end (of course with the occasional disturbance of my ADHD). I wish I could say it was a little more exciting than that, but the reality is precisely that. Virtual internships are not at all that stimulating, you must find your own way to spruce it up. I took it as an opportunity to explore. I knew that staying at home would leave me uninspired and bored, so I started café hopping. I’d find a random café the night before and spend my virtual shift in a space that made me feel a little more professional and focused than I felt in my dorm room. This gave me a reason to be a little more excited to do the sometimes-tedious work it takes to get to the fun things about your job. That’s one thing I’ve learned through this internship, you must add pieces of you into your professional life, or work becomes a chore. By adding a little fun to my work, I worked a lot better.
With my role as a communications intern, there’s a vast number of projects that are handed to me. There’s no clear cut, rulebook approach to getting stuff done. Nor is there an orthodox method about it so another thing I’ve learned is: Stay on your toes and don’t just approach a problem in one manner. Diversify your solutions. Sometimes you’re just going to have to wing it and if you need to, do it
Not every lesson learned comes easy though. A couple of things I learned, I learned by failing. To be a good communications intern, proactivity is key and that is something I need to work on. Informing things on time, communicating quickly and efficiently are all things I struggle with immensely and have caused unintentional problems at different points. So, one thing I would suggest to any intern is to be open and honest with your supervisor as much as possible. If your supervisor is aware of your shortcomings, they’ll be better equipped to pinpoint them and help you overcome them. Had I told my supervisor of my ADHD and tendency to forget we might have been able to fix that problem a little sooner and work a lot more efficiently. The expectation is not to be a flawless employee, it is to be aware of your flaws and work on them to be able to produce your best work.
I think this experience has helped me in figuring out what my ideal career looks like. The ups and the downs of it taught me something. It helped me realize that social media is my forte and the media part of communications is my favorite part but that I need an engaging workspace to be my best self in a professional setting.
I’d definitely recommend this internship to anyone looking to start a career in Communications, but also for how rewarding it is in terms of personal and professional growth.