What I Learned from a Mid-College Internship
By: Sarah Hall
As a rising college junior, I would not trade my liberal arts education for anything. Over the last two years, I’ve learned how to write concisely yet eloquently. I’ve learned how to articulate myself with confidence, manage my time and grow from constructive criticism. My college has ingrained in me essential life skills and academic values that I would not have acquired anywhere else.
However, my internship at RunSwitch this summer has offered me a sneak peek into the real-world–that of excel sheets, opinion-editorials, coverage reports and media advisories. Diligent, insightful and patient, the people at RunSwitch have challenged me with complex, thought-provoking projects, included me in local press conferences and events, and demonstrated a genuine interest in my professional and personal growth. Despite the abounding and important lessons that college has offered me, my internship at RunSwitch has instilled in me an understanding of the working world.
- Unlike college, there is no “completion grade” in public relations.
At RunSwitch, I will not receive a “good job” for simply completing an assignment. To meet my colleagues’ expectations, I focus on the details: on the wording (concise), the numbers (exact), and the format (uniform). For every project, both precision and accuracy matter.
- My work affects clients and colleagues (not just my GPA).
Both my co-workers (and our clients) depend on me to get the job done and get it done well. My work and its completion in a timely manner impacts the success of a project to which many people have dedicated time and energy.
- Attire matters.
On campus, female students often abide by the classic college dress code: oversized t-shirts, Nike athletic shorts, and flip flops. Obviously, these styles do not fit under the “business casual” category. As I prepare for the office each morning, I try to keep in mind who I represent– not only myself but also my family, my school, and RunSwitch.
- There are no set office hours.
As patient and helpful as my intern-managers have been, they are busy. There is not a specified time period for me to come and ask questions. I have to pay attention, finding those times and requesting meetings with my superiors. Most importantly, I have to cultivate my ability to critically think through and solve a problem without the help of a colleague. I believe RunSwitch encourages curiosity and professional growth as it encourages individuals to troubleshoot on their own before seeking advice.
I feel both fortunate and grateful to attend a school that I adore, a school that inspires an avant-garde way of thinking and a set of skills conducive to life post-graduation. Nevertheless, this internship has offered me a true glimpse into the professional sphere, providing me with real-world experiences beyond those of pop quizzes, cram sessions, research papers, and lectures. Although I shall not take for granted the joys of student-life, my summer at RunSwitch has sparked an enthusiasm within me for the next chapter–the working world!