Lessons to learn from your first internship

A first-time internship can teach you a lot. It comes with a bunch of highs and lows. For example, what are you supposed to do when your internship experience makes you question the very essence of what you thought you wanted to do with your life? This is exactly what happened to Kelly Napoliello.

Kelly Napoliello grew up in Colts Neck, New Jersey. She is a junior at Elon University with a major in Strategic Communications and Marketing Minor in Professional Sales. She knew she wanted to go into communications because she was able to recognize that one of her strength is interpersonal skills, which lead to her realization that she was passionate about “a career that was strongly reliant on communication, building relationships and creative planning”. She describes herself as a music person. Her favorite type of music would be “probably electro-pop or Indie EDM style”. Kelly was under the impression that she had acquired a decent amount of knowledge over the years pertaining to music and the music industry that would prepare her for a job in the music industry. However, her first internship left her lost.

           This past summer, Kelly earned the opportunity to work with Live Nations. Live Nations is an American run company that works to promote concerts and big names in the music industry while occasionally working with specific venues. Kelly worked as a marketing intern. This means that she would write press releases, create budget spreadsheets and brainstorm promotional plans for events or artists. When asked about her position at Live Nations, she said, “my supervisor had a lot of experience in public relations and that is an area of interest of mine so I was given public relations tasks alongside marketing”. It was an exciting time for Kelly to be working with a seasoned professional who could teach her a lot about the tricks of the trade.


           Going into the experience, Kelly held her doubts. She was scared of not knowing what to do in a particular instance or wouldn’t have the skills to complete a task. She soon realized that internships are a learning curve, and she could always ask for help. The people she is working for, and with, all want her to succeed. She soon figured out that this was not her passion. Kelly pointed out that she is extremely critical of her work and always strives for her work to reach its full potential. Live Nations helped to keep her motivated and on track with her work, but there was a disconnect between the work she was doing and her passions. Although an experience like this can be discouraging, Kelly’s motivation and positivity allowed her to recognize that although this was not meant for her, it only brought her one step closer to her dream job. This experience has helped Kelly dive deeper into her passions and has made her think critically about her future, “taking advantage of an internship experience is a great way to gage what you want in your future career and is really important in figure out what exactly you look for in a job”.


Internship opportunities are meant to guide you towards your path and teach you valuable life lessons. Just because one does not work out how you expected does not mean that you should give up. Even though a specific opportunity may seem perfect or may seem so far from what you think you want to do, you should always keep an open mind. Kelly explains that, “the great thing about internships is that they are meant to be a learning experience and wherever you are people will be there to help if you just ask!”