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Why Internships are Important

When I was 18 years old, I left for college thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. However, through the exploration of my classes, I realized that I was totally wrong. I decided to switch my major from business to public relations during my sophomore year of college and my advisor explained to me that I was going to be enduring an entirely new curriculum. The word internship came up in conversation and I was told it would be a requirement to graduate. I spent an entire year scrolling aimlessly on the internet for an internship and struggled to find something that fit with my major. But once I found the perfect opportunity, I realized that through this internship, I could explore different elements of my major and gain deeper knowledge on how to be successful in the public relations industry.

An internship can teach you much more than anything you learn in a classroom. I found that it is possible to balance being a full-time student and participate in an internship. You really need to broaden your horizons. Time management and organization are crucial when furthering your studies within an internship, while also making your classes a number one priority. An internship allows you to apply what you have learned in your courses to tasks you’ll actually perform in your career. Don’t expect to go into it thinking you know everything you're going to be doing. You will get thrown curveballs and should always be ready to think fast on your feet.

It is very important to ask questions, be curious, and be open to gaining newfound passions within your chosen field. I have found that I learn better through hands-on experience. Through my internship, I sometimes had to perform difficult tasks; and having to figure it out on my own allowed me to learn more about my capabilities. Although my internship applied elements of the curriculum I was learning in my classes, it also taught me things about my degree that I had yet to learn. I discovered the importance of having consistent communication with my advisor, always strategizing, planning, and composing fresh new ideas, and how believing in yourself changes everything.

I was able to explore my own confidence through this internship. Everything I was learning was another stepping stone to prepare me for the future. I used to be a student that struggled to sometimes retain the information I was learning in my classes and decipher what it would mean for me later in life. But, I learned that through an internship and the projects I worked on, I am no longer afraid to step outside my comfort zone in order to succeed.

I had the pleasure of working closely with Margaret and learning all the behind-the-scenes details on owning a business and taking care of clients. I conducted a photoshoot for bFIVE40 to promote their apparel line with the Dustin Johnson Golf School, created content for a vacation rental company's social media pages, updated my resume based on Margaret's critiques, created an email newsletter, conducted research and media list building for a healthcare consultant, created social media graphics, learned about analytics and reporting, attended press interviews, and of course, wrote this blog post!

So, whether you have to complete an internship as a graduation requirement or for your own personal and professional benefit, I highly encourage every student to take advantage of the endless opportunities that await you after gaining this newfound experience.

- Meredith Reib, Summer 2021 Intern

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