Since I started at UNC in August 2018, the biggest thing my professors have preached in my journalism classes is, “Look for internships!” Internships are a valuable way to gain real-world experience while still being a student, and have enabled me to feel more confident in what I want to pursue professionally as I get closer to graduating. I’ve had internships that have ranged from working for a recruiting company to working for a professional sports team, and I, of course, interned for Evergreen & Oak. Being a PR intern is different from interning in digital marketing or social media, from my personal experience, and the few months I worked with E&O taught me many valuable lessons:
- There’s no such thing as too many questions. The first day I clocked in, I was assigned to work on a press list for one of our clients, Good-Loop. When I heard this task, I started to tense up a little bit — I had never made a press list before. However, rather than letting myself spiral into confusion and doubt, I hopped on a call with Brook and we talked through all of the nitty-gritty details and I asked all of the questions, from super simple to complex. This is the beauty of being an intern: You’re allowed to ask all of these questions without judgment. And you know what happened because I clarified every detail? I felt confident and ready to approach the task, and now press lists are like second nature to me.
- Eagerness to learn is invaluable. Before I dive into this point, it’s important for me to emphasize that YOU SHOULD FIND INTERNSHIPS THAT INTEREST YOU. Take it from me, who has, admittedly, done internships just for the sake of it, rather than having a passion. Heed my mistakes and seek out internships in industries that you find appealing. Why? Because if you’re passionate about the content, you’ll be eager to learn, and eagerness is invaluable. I’m of the belief that if you’re eager to learn, you’ll understand your role much quicker and be more impressionable.
- Dive in headfirst. One of the biggest things I learned from my time with E&O is that in PR, you’re fully involved from the beginning. From my first day, I was doing actual work for the company and making an impact, rather than doing small, menial tasks that may be typically associated with internships. While this may sound intimidating, diving in headfirst and saying “yes” often allowed me to pull so much more from this experience than from other internships I’ve had. Push yourself and embrace the challenge.