For the spring semester of 2012, I had responsibility for an intern–Jenna. She was actually interning for Hadley Exhibits and I jumped in as the Intern Administrator. While we hope that Jenna gained something from the experience, turned out to be a great experience in contrast for the mature staff at Hadley. Our intern brought an insight to Hadley’s staff about what’s going on with the new millennial audience and social media. As she went out the door, Jenna left some thoughts of her own that I thought were worth sharing.
MY TIME AS AN INTERN
The life of an intern can vary with each experience and each company. In the end, your life is made up of all the experiences you have had, good or bad. Previously, I held an internship in Human Resources. After the semester was over, I came away with a great experience, but also insight as to what I did NOT want to do. Ultimately, I knew HR was not the place for me.
Feelings of discouragement and confusion hindered my ability to decide what I wanted to try next. After countless hours with my internship advisor at school, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to try something marketing related. This led me to Hadley.
When I was told Hadley Exhibits needed a social media-marketing intern, I immediately thought “who?” Not being familiar with the trade show/exhibit business, I had never heard of the company before.
After touring around the company after my interview, I was not only impressed but shocked and intrigued. There were so many construction rooms, studios and office buildings and I somehow wanted to be a part of it.
“Social media at Hadley is like 1984.” My internship supervisor said this to me on one of the first days. After a couple weeks, I realized Hadley was a little slow on social media, but I was up for the challenge. It was difficult deciding where to start, so I did experience some overwhelming feelings here and there.
With little to no knowledge of the trade show business, it was challenging to figure out which genre of social media would be the most beneficial.
I figured twitter has been evolving tremendously within the past year, and with all of the events and trade shows staff attends here, twitter would be an immediate and timely way to get out pictures/videos/news/links, etc.
Project managers and creative staff were extremely helpful in my launching of Hadley’s twitter account because I needed some direction as to what material to tweet about. Everyone was willing to take time out of their hectic schedules to help me and I cannot express enough how grateful I was for that.
People are not always going to agree in a corporate setting, and I was able to see this in various morning meetings. Conflict is something you cannot avoid in a company, and it was important for me to experience this because everyone at Hadley showed me the right way to deal with disagreement. Surely, it is important to voice your opinion and generate conversation and debate in a meeting because every time this happened, everyone got involved to try and come to a compromise.
The staff at Hadley was extremely welcoming, which contributed to the positivity of the whole internship experience. It is common for interns to feel out of the loop and unimportant, but I was included is every morning meeting, a couple conference calls and several meetings with clients. That aspect, right there, put me at ease and made me feel like I had a sense of significance.
What would I have done differently? Try not to be so intimidated. When you step into a corporate setting, still as a lowly college student, it is extremely overwhelming. I would have been a little more aggressive in meeting conversations and things like that. It is not in my nature to be overly aggressive/pushy and I did not want to come off that way, especially as an intern. Through my time here, I have realized that you need to be aggressive in order to succeed, and there is a fine line between being aggressive and pushy.
I also learned to conquer one of my biggest fears, public speaking, when I gave a presentation in front of a handful of Hadley’s clients. I was a little blind sided when I found out two days prior and didn’t feel like I had enough time to prepare. I honestly can say I was dreading it but now, looking back, it was one of the best things I could have done. What a feeling of accomplishment after it was over! It is hard to encompass in writing all that I have learned here this semester. It really reiterates the importance of internships- it is something that no class can prepare you for. It is all about the real-life experience.
Canisius College,Class of ‘2012