THE ETERNAL INTERN
It's that time again ... graduation season. And as this season swings into full gear, I am reminded of my own college graduation that took place just about a year ago. I don't remember it being a particularly groundbreaking moment in my life, in fact, I was mostly just happy to swear off essays and research papers for a while (or forever). But here I am, another year older, another year wiser and another year of having that dreaded "job situation" conversation.
I recently took a trip to my hometown and was plagued with the question, "So how's the job thing going?" My answer usually depends on the time of day and whether or not I've had an adult beverage. I sometimes simply smile and shrug, while other times I give my get-away-from-me-and-stop-asking-stupid-questions look. Am I annoyed by the fact that a year later I am still an intern? Absolutely not!!! Am I annoyed that many people do not realize that being an intern means more than running to get Starbucks and making copies? Absolutely!!!
With four internships under my belt, I can honestly say that I have learned more about public relations in one day of an internship than I learned in an entire year of college. While it does help to read case studies on past PR campaigns, to memorize procedures for effectively communicating during a crisis and to write press releases on made-up product launches, you never truly understand the world of PR until you are thrown to the wolves.
Yes, I've been on coffee runs, made copies, fed my boss' parking meter, steamed clothes for five hours, dyed my hair for a client (while on TV), scrubbed garment racks until they sparkled, stuffed press kits for days straight, and cried a couple of times. BUT, I've also seen events I've pitched in the newspaper, worked with some of the most talented people in the industry, helped with events for some of my favorite clothing stores in the entire world, been on the news three different times, built a pretty extensive (and impressive) portfolio, been gifted some amazing swag bags and really, really loved my job.
Although being an intern isn't the most sought after or glamorous job, in my mind it's been the most crucial job of my life. It has taught me that you have to start from the very bottom, not be afraid to get your hands dirty, work in some less than ideal situations and do it all without a single complaint (that is until you are on your way home and on the phone with your mom). I've gained amazing experience, met truly talented professionals and developed a first-hand understanding of how the industry works.
So to the Class of 2011 ... congrats, good luck and get used to responding to the name "Intern!"
Brigid Parr SUPER INTERN