“We have a job for you of the utmost importance,” Derek said as he walked into the room. I can’t deny I was a little nervous at the sound of such a serious task, but the anxiety really kicked in once I saw Rachel and Erica follow him through the door. This must be a really big deal, right? Seconds later my anxiety was relieved when I discovered that this “job of the utmost importance” was a Starbucks run. In fact, I was filled with joy. I am a shamelessly self-proclaimed Starbucks addict. As such, it is no understatement to say that this would be the one job I felt most prepared for since arriving at Allison Development Group.
It may, however, come as surprise that this is the only coffee run I have made since my first day as intern (crazy, I know). This is far from the only surprise I have encountered since beginning my internship at ADG. In all honesty, my experience here so far has completely defied most of my expectations regarding typical internships. Here’s how:
After talking to my friends about their internship experiences, I was totally expecting my primary duties to consist of coffee runs and cleaning. Instead, on my first day at Allison Development Group, I was asked to join a conference call with a client and provide my feedback. I got to work one-on- one with Erica, asking questions and sharing my suggestions. Then, she answered all of my questions and allowed me to share some of my suggestions with the client. On my second day, she invited me attend a team meeting with another one of the firm’s clients. Most certainly not what I was expecting from my first few days at the office.
To a journalism student from UNC, a statement like this may be considered sacrilege. What do you mean there is no one docking points for each oxford comma and every missed hyphen? In a more general sense, this statement is extremely representative of my transition from practicing skills in an educational setting to practicing them in the real world. It seems to me that the point of being forced to learn all of the seemingly irrelevant rules that consume journalistic writing is, ultimately, to break them. How much fun is that? As it turns out, some of the best work is a result of someone freeing themselves from the rigidity of rules, rules, and more rules. All I am saying is, don’t be so busy tripping over the oxford comma that you forget to be innovative.
This must be a mistake, right? What intern gets to share ideas with an entire group of professionals that are actually open to considering them? Sharing your suggestions can be such an intimidating thing (primarily due to a total lack of merit), but sharing them with the right group of people can make all the difference. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of my ideas are probably pretty bad. But, one thing I’ve learned at ADG is that some of the best ideas can stem from the worst ones. It’s been really refreshing to work with a group of professionals that are open to hearing my ideas and helping me learn. You don’t need 10,000 degrees to follow your passion and do an incredible job. When I think about my future, I tend to limit my possibilities based on my course of study. I am a Political Science and Journalism double major. So, essentially, that means I can either work in politics, public relations, or public relations for politicians. That’s it. After getting to know Erica a little bit more, I found that she is actually a Political Science major who learned the trade of public relations through personal experience. So, to summarize, one of the most competent people I have ever seen in the world of public relations and crisis management majored in something completely different in college. She’s a natural, and she uses her abilities to propel her even further into a world that she already has great success in, no marketing, public relations, or journalism degree required. Talk about empowering.
One of my favorite things about ADG is that they are fun, free, and laid-back. They managed to create a relaxed and creative environment while maintaining the atmosphere and efficiency associated with complete professionalism. Since getting here, many of my days have included eyeing Rachel’s adorable outfits, watching Kevin do a crossword and eat Co-op food on his lunch break, laughing at Diane’s jokes, listening to a story about Derek’s little kid, playing with Brittany’s dog, or getting coffee with Erica. I’ve learned an incredible amount since the beginning of my internship, but I have also had a ton of fun.
So, to everyone who always told me that I can’t have my cake and eat it too: I am an intern doing what I love, learning more than I could’ve imagined, and hanging out with the coolest team in town. I have my cake, and I’m eatin’ it.
Side note: This blog post is filled with oxford commas because I like them. Take that, AP style police.