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Intern Diaries: What I Gained

It seems like just yesterday I was driving into the Clear Channel parking lot, unsure of where to park and second-guessing my outfit choice. Eight weeks flew by, and in exactly a month, I am going to be starting my final year at Virginia Tech. I shudder to think how quickly that will fly by. I have learned so much at my internship, and it honestly makes me wish I had more time. Come tomorrow, I will say goodbye to my cubicle and then immediately head down to Blacksburg where I will prepare to move in to my new, senior year townhome. Before I bid the whole experience farewell, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve gained over the past two months.

A Spectacular Insight Into My Field

If you think you know everything you need to know about your dream job- think again. Having this internship was the best thing I could ever ask for, in terms of really getting a feel for what I’d like to be doing in the real world. You can take as many classes in your major as you want, but when it comes down to it, nothing is better than being right in the middle of the industry you one day aspire to be successful in. Being in an office and fast-paced working environment has really made me aware of how exciting the broadcast world is. The media industry is all about reaching your audience, creating strong and reliable relationships with local businesses and companies, and keeping information and content fresh and exciting. I’ve had a blast getting to know each station that broadcasts through the building, and how each has a different identity.

A Wealth of Knowledge Through Meeting People And Networking

Sometimes, you can feel out of touch with the working world as a collegiette. Most of the people you talk to are your own age and have had similar experiences as you. Sure, you have your parents and grandparents to give you advice about your career, but in a lot of cases, they probably chose a profession much different than what you’re interested in. This is why it’s important to meet people who are not only in your field, but who were once in your shoes. I’ve had some fantastic conversations with co-workers about how they transitioned from hitting the books to working the 9 to 5 grind. I've created relationships that I hope to sustain as I leave college behind and join the workforce.

The Idea That I Can Do It- And You Can Too

It sounds crazy, but as early as three years old, I was terrified to go to college. All of those ‘big kids’ just seemed so intimidating to me, and the whole idea of taking super-hard adult classes was an enigma. Three years ago when I had finished my freshmen year, I remember laughing at my four-year-old self.

I’m telling you this because it’s how I felt about having an internship. Being around adults who have done this stuff for years can really feel daunting. You may think you don’t have it in you or that you’ll never be able to transition from college student with mild responsibility to full-on working girl in the real world. I’m here to tell you that you can. Like anything you're unfamiliar with, things will seem unnatural and challenging at first. The thing is that I never stopped learning. I just felt more comfortable as I continued to learn and work on more and more things. At some point during your internship, you will look back at the bright-eyed girl from the previous summer who thought she could never grow out of her summer lifeguarding job, and say, “well, this isn’t as bad as I thought.” Because it’s anything but bad- it’s awesome and a crucial step to take before graduating and landing your first entry-level job!

My Advice

For the collegiette who hasn’t given a second thought about an internship, or for younger collegiettes who are just kicking off their college career, here is what I have to say about work experience:

-If you can, try to land an internship the summer between your sophomore and junior year of college. Believe me, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would definitely start to apply for internships earlier than I did.

-Research everything. Only apply to companies or businesses that you have an interest working at. If you can’t see yourself working at a certain company ever, it probably isn’t best to apply for an internship there just for the sake of getting an internship. Instead, look at places that really peak your interest. Make yourself stand out in interviews by doing your homework and knowing things like what the company does, its mission statement, different jobs it offers, etc. Familiarity and enthusiasm will get noticed big time.

-Apply to multiple places. This will save your butt if an opportunity doesn’t work out. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed- especially if you’re applying for a really competitive spot. Cover your bases and make sure you have a few internships in mind. Just a reminder: make sure you apply to each one SEPARATLY and do not use a universal resume or cover letter. You don’t want to be in a position where you’ve sent a cover letter to CNN that says “I would love to work at NBC.” Talk about wanting to kick yourself.

-If you can, intern during a semester at school. I plan on applying for another internship closer to Tech for my spring semester.

-Give it your all. Just because your supervisor doesn’t sing your praises 24/7 doesn’t mean he or she has let your hard work go unnoticed. Not only will you get done work faster (thus allowing you to take on new work and learn new things), but your boss will only have good things to say if you ask them for a recommendation in the future.

It’s been wonderful to be able to blog throughout the past two months. Hopefully you enjoyed reading my series and are excited about taking on your own internship endeavor next year. If all else fails to excite you: you’ll probably get to wear blazers. And pencil skirts. And feel classy. Awwh, yeah.~

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Laura Baugh

Virginia Tech

Laura Baugh is a senior at Virginia Tech where she is double majoring in Communications and Film. When not busy with school, Laura enjoys editing film and video, being the general manager at VTTV, spending time with her amazing sisters in Gamma Phi Beta, playing her guitar, and reading Her Campus! She is also obsessed with her school's athletics. Go Hokies!
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