First Time Intern: Reality vs. Expectations

When I started college, I had always envisioned my first internship as a fairytale. I would take the train into Manhattan wearing my most stylish pantsuit with a Starbucks in hand. I would catch a cab from Penn Station and arrive at my company’s skyscraper to be the superstar intern.

My first internship experience is far from that, but it’s just as fantastic as I had dreamed. With some determination and searching, I had landed myself a position at Hip New Jersey, a lifestyle and entertainment program about all the latest happenings in the Garden State. Landing an internship after my first year of school was lucky, but now it’s up to my hard work to make an impression.

It’s not located in Manhattan, but in the suburbs of New Jersey. I still get Starbucks every morning on my drive in, but instead I walk up two flights of stairs to my cozy office. I had always imagined working for a big company doing the dirty work that higher ups didn’t want to do.

As one of Hip New Jersey’s Public Relations Interns, I run their social media accounts, market products and stories, help plan events, and gain blogging experience. I’m not going on coffee runs–I’m gaining real life public relations experience.

While it’s not the internship I expected, it’s a perfect fit for a first time intern. Working for a smaller company allows me to make closer connections with the staff and gain more professional experience than I would at a larger workplace. I’ve had the opportunity to cover events at Yankee Stadium and meet celebrities like the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Working at Hip New Jersey this summer has taught me a lot of valuable things. I’ve learned the importance of networking, mastering social media analytics, and the art of press releases.

I’ve also learned to carry a pair of flats when wearing those sky-high heels because you never know when you’ll run an errand. Preparation is key, making sure you’re stocked with pens, paper, laptop, and chargers. Also, I’ve become a pro at making healthy and tasty lunches that won’t cost me a fortune.

Getting your first internship can seem daunting, but with some perseverance you can land one. It may not be your dream job, but it could give you experience that you couldn’t get elsewhere.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Clarissa Ford. 

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