It has now been two weeks since I finished my internship with the Irish Academy of Public Relations. Since finishing, I have had time to reflect on my experience. There is a lot I can say – but I am most of all thankful. Participating in the International Internship Program was such a unique experience that I am glad to say I have. My supervisor surprised me with a virtual card on my last day, saying that she wished she could have handed it to me in person. I hope that one day I will be able to visit Ireland!
Holding this internship was a huge growing experience for me. I know that I did indeed grow personally, professionally, and academically. I learned a lot about myself throughout this process. Since coming to college, one thing I learned is that the most valuable lessons you learn are ones you learn about yourself. We are always learning new things about ourself – and that is so exciting! Every experience we have shapes and changes us. Personally, I became a lot more confident in myself. I was able to express and pitch ideas without fear. I felt comfortable, and this is often difficult for me as I am a generally shy individual. I learned that I already have a lot of the skills I need to succeed. They are often hidden and just need the chance to shine through. The IIP is a very personal experience in general, as each student gets the opportunity for an internship that meets their personal needs. I was able to thrive in my position and learn that I can accomplish what I put my mind to.
I learned many skills that helped aid me grow on a professional level. Internships are designed to help people who are new to the field learn the ropes. I was able to meet and work with Ellen Gunning, who is very acclaimed in the communications world. For my projects, I had to watch various interviews Ellen had with other professionals, as well as read articles for research. I also had to utilize a number of different tools such as Slack, Canva, and Microsoft Word. These are tools that I will be using on a regular basis if I choose marketing and communications as my career. I had the opportunity to make and run my own campaign, which is something great to add on a resume. I was able to participate in a variety of activities that gave me insight on the professional world. I never had any real experience using these platforms, only me using them for classes or personal use. I was able to see how companies utilize these platforms for their work and receive feedback.
There are many key takeaways from this program. I know I will use what I have learned from this experience and apply it to my future career. One major takeaway for me was that I prefer to not work remotely. Though this is a general takeaway, I believe it is an important one. Especially recently, remote jobs have become more common. I used to think that working completely online would be ideal. However, I am not sure if it something I would want full time. I found it difficult at times to adjust to the online setting. I had dozens of tabs opened at once and it was hard to keep organized. I also missed that face-to-face communication. An internship is supposed to help you learn these things, so I was glad that I had this realization.
Another key takeaway for me was that there is so much opportunity at our fingertips. Within a few weeks, I was really able to take hold of my position and make it my own. This is something I never saw myself doing. It is important to assert a level of independence. My supervisor told me during my interview that she used to be against having interns because she thought they were just little ducklings. She came to realize that the right interns will add so much to their position and help the company a tremendous amount. Once I started taking control of my position, I felt even more comfortable. Never be afraid to show what you have to give!
I will be able to go into my next internship/job with much more confidence that I had previously. I was given the opportunity to participate in such an amazing experience this summer and it added so much to my overall college experience! I know this is something I will continue to talk about. After all, who knows where the connections I have made through this will lead me. I can’t wait to see what my next adventure entails!