Interning: Knowing When It’s Time to Leave

First I’d like to apologize for my rather long absence from blogging. With now picking up a second job in addition to my internship, and balancing my classes and extracurricular activities, writing hasn’t been the first thing on my mind. Today, however, I’ve had a thought for a few weeks now and decided to sit down and express it.

I’ve been interning at the Exploreum since November and it’s been a great experience. I’ve expanded my social media knowledge, networked with influential people in the area, learned a little bit about advertising and made some great references. Most internships last a semester or maybe two. When I was hired, I was told it would be about 10-12 mos. that I was guaranteed a position there due to the length of the BP Horizon Marketing grant. Originally I planned to stay through summer and start a new internship in the fall; however, a new opportunity has come about and it’s made me question if it’s worth staying anymore.

Here are three red flags that I believe are signs you’ve achieved all you have needed in your internship:

1) You aren’t learning anything new.

An internship is intended to teach you and either help build upon skills you already have or introduce new skills. For example, my internship has taught me a great deal about social media. I’ve learned how to set up a content schedule, when is the best time to post and how to interact with the audience. At this point now, however, I feel as though I’m only doing social media because my boss is so busy with other things that he just gives me the basic. Although I love the pay and the people I work with, I only have so much time left before I need to start applying for jobs and I need to make the most of it.

2) You don’t feel necessary.

Every Monday morning we, or should I say they, have experience meetings. I’ve never been able to be a part of them because, as Josh says, some of the information is “private.” This never bothered me too much until I realized that they talk about what’s going on for the week and it might be important to include the person who is running all of your social media and promotion (a.k.a. me!). Also, everyday I go in and sit at my desk and pretty much just make the internship work for me; I do the social media schedule and then check my email. That’s it. If I want any more work to do, I have to go ask Josh because it’s rare when he will come to me and give me something to do. Now don’t get me wrong; I have done a lot for the Exploreum over time, but so much of it could have been done in half of the time I’ve spend there.

3) You immediately think of leaving as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Just yesterday I got a call from my property manager at my apartment. First, let me give a little background. I’ve lived here at these apartments since they opened two years ago and I’ve built good rapport with our property manager, Carron. A few months ago they were looking for someone to do some office work and I needed a second job so I interviewed for it. Long story short, they ended up not hiring anyone at the time. The call I got yesterday was Carron offering me a leasing consultant position! Immediately I thought of leaving the Exploreum for the reasons I listed above. Logistically, working where I live is convenient, I’m getting paid the same and I wouldn’t have to use any gas. Since my internship originally was offered to me for 10 months I’ve really debated leaving because of questions such as, “But this job doesn’t have to do with my major right? Maybe I’ll start learning new stuff soon.”

The moral of this post is that your time as a student is precious and internships should fill that time offering new experiences and new skills. If you’re to the point, like myself, where your internship isn’t giving you what you need, then your time is being wasted. Even after writing this I already feel confident in my decision to leave the Exploreum. I just have to remember that this experience did have a place in my life, but now it’s time for a new one. Until next time, bloggers!

Roadtrip to the PRSA Summit

Last week was a small milestone in my PR career as well as a fun adventure!

Our PRSSA chapter at the University of South Alabama traveled to Birmingham for the 2014 PRSA Summit. The group decided to do the same itinerary as the previous year and go up a day early to tour agencies. The first agency we toured was Intermark Group and then Big Communications.

The Tours- How Everything Really Works

At Intermark we were able to here a short presentation from each department including account services, public relations, creative and interactive. After hearing what each department consists of, I realized account services is somewhere I could see myself. They are primarily responsible for being the liaison between the client and agency throughout the length of the contract. Intermark has a vibrant atmosphere that allows their employees to have autonomy and let their creative spirit fly. This agency inspired me so much to apply for an internship! I saw the woman who presented for the public relations department, Kate, at the PRSA Summit and took the opportunity to give her my resume. This week I received an email from Intermark requesting writing samples. I’ll keep you posted!

USA PRSSA tours Intermark Group

USA PRSSA tours Intermark Group

The Summit

Tuesday we checked into the Summit and prepared ourselves for a day full of professional advice. The keynote speaker, Matt Prince, shared how to deal with generational stereotypes. My favorite quote from him was,

We grow up in a generation where we’ve seen billionaires in hoodies and revolutionaries in sandals.

His presentation was eye-opening to how millennials are perceived and how we can beat these stereotypes in the work place. Some of the other speakers included Deon Gordon, senior consultant at Chronicle Studios, Holly Lollar, APR, from The Lollar Group and Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, director of partnership development at HGTV.

Some of our University of South Alabama PRSSA members at Regions Field

Some of our University of South Alabama PRSSA members at Regions Field

The Take-A-Way

So many students go through school just to graduate and then expect a job to be handed to them; not in the world of public relations. You have to attend professional events, make connections that lead to relationships and develop your own personal brand. Attending the PRSA summit and touring two agencies showed me that these professionals who have made it to this point in their careers didn’t do so by sitting back and waiting on the world to hand them an opportunity; they created their own opportunity.

 

Share your own professional experiences. What have you done to go the extra mile?

Catching Up

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I’m sorry I’ve been behind on blogging. A little thing called life has been happening a bit more crazier than usual lately. I use to watch Spongebob everyday when growing up and it’s always fun to incorporate him when I can. A very important lesson has been taught to me this past week: you can’t run forever.

In high school I waited until the last minute to do projects, study for tests, and pretty much anything else that could wait. Graduating with a 4.3/4.5, it would only make sense that this method would work in college…right? Now I’ve been at South for almost four years and I still manage to have a high GPA and work efficiently. I soon realized, actually it hit me right in the face, that the corporate world has no patience for procrastination. 

I got behind on our social media content which affected a very important announcement of a new exhibit we have and there was no one to blame but myself. Thankfully I’m only an intern, and that’s what intern life is about; learning from mistakes. The take-away this week is to never think that because a certain methodology worked for you in high school, in college, in past jobs, etc., will work for you in the present time. Especially when it comes to the world of public relations, time waits for no one.