By McKenzie Clift, Communications Management Assistant (Summer 2013)
A truly valuable internship experience can build up so much more than a resume — it can entirely re-shape and re-define your character and the way you see the world. My internship with Hirons this summer did exactly that. Amid the chaos and creative ingenuity that marks Hirons, I found solace in the company of some incredibly talented co-workers in an exciting line of work. Along the way, I picked up a few lessons for the aspiring intern-to-be.
THROW EVERYTHING YOU’VE LEARNED OUT THE WINDOW
Well, let’s back up. The thousands of dollars you’re accumulating in student debt isn’t a lost cause. The things you learn in the classroom set a brilliant stage from which you can begin to equip yourself to take on your first job and begin cultivating within you the types of dynamic thinking that will mold you into a well-rounded, capable, model citizen for hire. But from the moment I walked onto my first day on the job at Hirons, it didn’t take long to realize that we didn’t function by any greater, catchall PR system of operations. The people who work here have found a very intimate beat of their own that works — and adapting was a struggle. But it’s crucial that you allow yourself to open up to a new way of thinking and acclimate. Allow those around you to immerse you in the kind of forward-thinking, creative ingenuity at work there and embrace it. In opening myself up to a different way of doing things, I grew leaps and bounds as a writer. Which transitions beautifully into my next point…
TAKE THE TUMBLE, MAKE MISTAKES
Amid my proverbial state as a sponge for knowledge, I felt hopelessly lost and confused my first few weeks on the job. I was doomed to make mistakes (and trust me, I made plenty) — and that’s okay. What was important was that I didn’t allow myself to dwell on them. Take the initiative to find a solution and carry on. Some of my greatest successes at Hirons came after the total re-build of a press release or the re-construction of a targeted media list. No one expects you to be perfect, but they do expect you to follow through. Keep your chin up and make every lesson count.
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
The energy you reflect in the office is everything. Sure I had plenty of missteps — that was bound to happen. But what people responded to most at Hirons was my ability to maintain composure despite situations warped beyond my control. I learned to leverage those difficult situations with a positive and optimistic response. That, ultimately, is how people will remember you. Your energy shapes your situation.
THE BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS WILL HAPPEN
The intern life isn’t always a glamorous one. With any company, grunt work exists to be done. But amid the small tasks, the possibility to shine would present itself. When an opportunity to take on a project arose, I would whole-heartedly throw myself into it. Take each of those moments and run. These moments are what your internship is about — the opportunity to apply all of your passion and new knowledge into a project. After exerting all that I had into an assignment, I would end up with a creation that far exceeded my expectations and accomplished for myself something new and brilliant. I was growing as a person — pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and surprising myself with the lengths that I could go to achieve something great.
If you’re lucky enough to spend a summer away from all things familiar, as I did when I packed up and moved to Indianapolis to work for Hirons, savor every moment. Soak in the culture around you and allow yourself the gift of growth. The rewards will be far-reaching. Be confident. Be driven. Be compassionate. Be bold.