For the past two years of my college career I have been working toward one goal — getting a summer internship. I have always wanted the opportunity to use my skills in a real-life work environment while at the same time gaining valuable experience. All the interviews, career fairs, meetings and preparations were finally paying off when I was offered a position as a communication intern at Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO).
The night before my first day I remember laying out my newest work attire, packing a lunch, and thinking “Is it weird to bring a backpack? What do I do when I first come into the office? When am I supposed to leave in the morning to start my commute?” Now looking back, it is funny that something as small as what bag to bring to work was a worry of mine.
Sooner than I ever thought, I was acclimated into the working world and with each passing day I was absorbing more and more information. As you can imagine, I have learned way more in these past three months than I can fit into a blog, but here are the top five highlights:
Even though “don’t be afraid to ask questions” is cliché, it is completely true. As nervous as I was for the first day of work, I knew the only way to gain the most out of this internship was to ask even the smallest of questions. I learned that I would rather ask a question than mess up in the end because you don’t have to understand and know everything. It is all about learning.
As a journalism student, I am aware of the dreaded editing process. VTLO taught me that it should not be so dreaded and should be used as a learning tool. Presenting your work to anyone puts you in a vulnerable state. But even as an intern here, I was given opportunities to show my writing and get those much-deserved edits. At VTLO I was able to accept the help I was given and use edits by my colleagues to my benefit, only making my work better. I will keep this new outlook on the editing process with me for the rest of my writing career.
Now this is an interesting topic I learned more about because I always thought I would be the tech expert coming from the “iGeneration,” but I was ahead of myself. I do pride myself on my expertise in social media and I know that if I have time to play around on a website I can pick it up, but when it comes to corporate software and technology I had no clue what I was getting into. From a Zoom interview, to MailChimp, to Canva, VTLO has given me the hands-on experience with professional technology I never even knew existed. I now have knowledge in the world of intranets and webinars and realize the technology is so much more than Instagram and Facebook.
At the start of my internship I was given a “30, 60, 90 day plan,” which I thought would be my daily routine, but that quickly changed. Within a week I found myself stepping up to take on tasks outside of my original plan because I knew they would be great learning experiences — the best possible outcome of an internship. This gave me the opportunity to discover what I liked and disliked as well as see the inner workings of the field as a whole. My job quickly became more about what I thought and could contribute, and that made the experience a lot more fulfilling. I learned not to be afraid, but instead to be confident and open-minded. It taught me to take the lead on projects that interested me.
I may have gotten lucky with my coworkers at VTLO, but they taught me that even though I may still be learning, I have the ability to add useful information. My opinion matters and I felt myself using a lot of my experiences at school to add to discussions. Our weekly meetings were always a wonderful place to collaborate and share ideas and I looked forward to them. I learned that I have knowledge to share from experience at school despite my age.
At first, an internship as a college student can feel overwhelming and many days are stressful. By the end of my experience, I gained new skills and information that are different from what I could learn in a classroom. I really do owe it all to the team at Vitiello Communications Group for showing me that being an intern is so much more than filing papers or getting coffee. They gave me the opportunity to express myself, feel confident and build my knowledge in the communications field. I now feel more prepared for wherever my professional life takes me and I’ll never have to worry what bag to bring again.