By: Jordan Ross
This past semester, I was grateful for the opportunity to undertake my first public relations internship. Now that the semester has wrapped up and things have finally started to slow down a bit, I’ve had the chance to think about all the things I’ve learned throughout these past four months. After narrowing my list down, I was able to come up with five of the most important things I learned from my internship that could prove beneficial for others as they partake in their own internships in the future.
Utilize the people around you.
When I first started my internship, I wasn’t exactly sure who I’d be working with, or if I’d even be working with anyone at all. On my first day, my fears were calmed as I had at least one person I knew that I’d be able to confide in. I had already known this person before I started my internship from working together at another job, so we already had a sense for each other and how we worked, which helped me feel more comfortable moving forward in the internship.
As I continued to move forward, I got to know a lot more people along the way. Many of those people I never expected to talk to, let alone get to know so well. You never know who will cross your path in life and help you accomplish your goals. No matter how intimidating someone may seem, most people who are around you want to see you succeed. The people you work with every day can be used as tools to help you learn, you just have to be willing to take advantage of using those tools.
Be open to trying new things.
Most of the time, people don’t like to do things that are new to them because they aren’t used to it. When you aren’t used to something, it isn’t very comfortable. It’s why a lot of people get into certain routines and don’t get out of them. Comfort doesn’t always come right away. If you’re willing to give something a chance, then the outcome may be better than you expected.
By the time someone is ready for an internship position, they’ve probably had their share of life experiences. When starting a new position, you don’t want to forget all that you’ve learned in the past, but a new internship is a new experience, and you may learn some new best practices that you can incorporate into your life. As I progressed in my internship, there were times when I was asked to do something that I was unfamiliar with, but I gave it a shot. Now, I can add those things to my own toolkit in life and take them with me to future jobs.
Stay up to date with things happening daily.
In this world, things can change at any given moment. People have their own opinions about things that are going on in the world they live in, and social media is increasingly becoming the outlet that people use to express their views.
While social media may seem overwhelming to keep up with at times, it can also be really fun. The immediacy of social media allows you to obtain quick information right as it’s happening, and in a way it allows you to be wherever the news is, even if you’re not there. The more you know about what is happening in the world, the easier it is to provide timely and relevant information to your audience. Being relevant really does a lot to help engage and build the relationship with your audience, which should be one of the main goals of a business’s social media efforts.
Take feedback and don’t be afraid to give it.
Everybody wants to do the best they can when they are trusted with a given task. Whether it be your job, classwork, or life in general, people typically want to succeed because it feels good to know that people are happy with your performance. The way you know whether you’re doing a good job is by receiving feedback from those you work with. Now, don’t get me wrong, depending on whether the feedback is good or bad, sometimes receiving that feedback can feel better than other times. Regardless of the type of feedback you receive, it’s essential to growing as a person and improving your strengths and weaknesses.
While it’s beneficial to receive feedback to help you progress in life, it’s also good to do the same for others. If you have good intentions and are providing productive feedback to others, then you shouldn’t worry as much. I’ve found that people find it refreshing to hear another person’s point of view, however, you never want to bash anyone. If you can help someone by providing them with productive feedback, it can go a long way.
Remember to have fun!
Being an intern is a lot of hard work, but no matter what, remembering to have fun is one of, if not the most important thing you can do. Throughout my internship, I worked hard and learned a lot from my team, and in the process, I had fun doing it. All of that combined will make for an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the Vice President of Professional Development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the President of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss.