I half expected my first day as a Zapwater intern to be traumatic à la Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. I envisioned myself spilling a tray of hot Starbucks coffee on my white ruffled button-down, frantically scribbling notes as a Miranda Priestly-esque character barked out orders, or unsuccessfully navigating the streets of Chicago in an attempt to pick up Dave’s dry cleaning. My nervousness stemmed from my inexperience in PR (as of three weeks ago my only exposure to the subject came from a single Wall Street Journal article), but I was banking on my writing skills and sheer enthusiasm to keep me afloat in this new and exciting world.

Much to my delight, neither Dave nor Susie resembled Miranda Priestly in manner or appearance, and I managed to get through my first day without so much as a broken nail. The environment was anything but catty or competitive— everyone was extremely helpful in teaching me the language and processes used in PR. When I was given my first assignment, to create vacation packages for the Abbey Resort, I was thrilled! The tasks I was being given fit perfectly with my creative personality and utilized my strong writing skills.

In my past few weeks at Zapwater I’ve done everything from perusing blogs targeting working moms (in hopes of finding one that might feature SuperMom, a.k.a. Kim Kleeman) to choosing photos of ladies in elaborate hats at the Chicago Service Club’s spring luncheon to send to the press. One of my favorite tasks was calculating the total monetary value of the media placements that Zapwater secures for its clients. It really makes me appreciate all of the hard work that goes into each account—and how great everyone here is at what they do!

Just as Andy entered the offices of Runway oblivious to the world of Louboutin and Lagerfeld, I waltzed into Zapwater clueless to the intricacies of pitching and press releases. With loads of guidance from my friendly coworkers, a lot of hard work, and unfailing enthusiasm, I’d like to think that I’ve made myself an asset to the Zapwater team. Now if only my journey could come to an end with a trip to Paris!

Erin Girard