Written by Agne ☽
It is time I told you about what all my summer was about.
As you probably know from my previous posts, I came back to Lithuania for my summer break. Although I spent a few weeks relaxing at home, the majority of my summer was spent working – I was a summer intern at an amazing communications agency in Vilnius – Fabula Hill+Knowlton Strategies. The story of how I came to this place is not exceptionally interesting or special – I saw their website, I “stalked” them on the social media, I sent my CV, got an interview. Simple as that I became a part of an absolutely fabulous team for two months of my life. I am not going to talk about exact things I did there nor ramble on the things I have learned. I had an experience and it was great – what I want to talk about is the internship culture as we have it, on why it is important and the reasons for why I would not change my decision of doing it for anything else.
Internships as we have them
Essentially, the business invites you to become a part of their team – some team members then allocate you with some appropriate tasks. You then make your best to show what you are capable of – you start building trust based on good results, and therefore, receive more and more important tasks. Then, hopefully, you get challenged, you learn through struggling, while the team members share their expertise in a form of feedback. You get a chance to learn while helping people out – an ideal exchange.
What if one is not accepted as a member of a team? What if the tasks one is given are unclear and too difficult? What if one doesn’t have what to do at all? On the other hand, what if the intern expects to be taught like in school, wishes for people to gift them their time and intellectual resources with no enthusiasm or initiative? What if an intern decides that some tasks are unworthy of their time? What I am trying to articulate here is that a successful and truly beneficial internship is super rare and depends on numerous factors. It is a complicated matter – many people could tell a sad story about their horrible experience doing an internship and how it was a complete waste of their time. My parents were very skeptical about it. Most of the films picture it as a living hell. Why should you bother, why risk it?
You are truly blessed if you know what to want to do in life – some of my peers have dreams so specific it amazes me. It would be a lie if I told you that I have always wanted to do what I am doing. To be honest, after I finally chose communication and media studies (had no idea what to do after school), I had no clue what it is all about. After the first year of studying – learning about everything and nothing at the same time – I realised that it won’t come to me automatically. The theoretical base is good, but you have to stay curious, learn more about the industry and its’ specifics. How can I dream of doing something I haven’t tried before? 2 years in my studies and still not sure about it. Yes, so what?
I am not telling that you have to have an internship and that something bad is going to happen if you don’t. Every industry is different and media & PR is one of the most dynamic spheres there is. So I’ve tried it, I was ready to be disappointed as much as I was ready to have an amazing time – all I knew I would try my best to go there unbiased and with arms wide open.
I got to be a part of a truly fabulous team and spend time with intelligent, driven and passionate people who love their job and who celebrate every accomplishment as little or as huge as it may be. The atmosphere and the microclimate there were perfect, and I can’t thank enough for those who asked me how I’m doing, who trusted me with more complicated tasks and gave me some thorough feedback. My fellow interns became my friends. Human connection is important in any workplace, yet it is absolutely crucial in the communications sphere and these guys had the best of it. Oh, and they had their office dogs around all the time. 🙂
Moreover, I had a chance to experience the fast pace of agency life, had a variety of tasks connected to diverse media channels. How different everything is in real life compared to what we learn at university and how beneficial every small and bigger task was to me! It’s not just about being a part of cool events and brainstorming some creative wonderfulness. It’s also not all about influencers, media lists and talking to people on the phone, although it is still a very important and inevitable part of the job. You need to do the more mechanical, sometimes even boring stuff to build success and get to the more exciting things and that is completely normal. So, I must say that glamorous ‘PR girl’ image is really exaggerated.
Most importantly, I finally realised that I can and actually WANT to do this for a long time. I am not saying that I was born for such a job or I’m amazing at it – on the contrary, I started doubting myself. Am I creative enough? Am I this or that? But you know what, it means that I finally started to care about something career-related strong enough. I genuinely enjoyed everything. The boring jobs and some of the amazing things I was scared to do. Working in an agency you have very different clients and work with a variety of businesses and I think that is very cool. I think it is a fascinating, dynamic and imperative sphere of study and I cannot wait to see where it goes in the future and how I will be a part of it.
So I did an internship. Lucky me, I loved it. Two months of unpaid labour? Two months paid with knowledge, trust, friendliness, and things that money cannot by at least at this point of my life. So what if you are studying something you are not sure about – there are very few people who knew what they are going to do in life all along. What you must do though is challenge yourself, stay ambitious and motivated – go and find out, make sure you’re doing something that you genuinely enjoy. If not, try something else. But how else can you do it without such experience?
Thank you for reading and see you soon.