Brittany Ulman is currently a senior Creative Writing student at Ball State University with minors in Professional Writing & Emerging Media and Spanish. During her college career, Brittany took online summer classes and held an internship that counted for course credit, so she will be graduating a semester early in December of 2016. This summer, she was the marketing intern for International Floral Distributor’s Executive Director and was in charge of writing several press releases for IFD and its Flower Trends Forecast as well as working on various projects aimed at enhancing distributor services for IFD’s vendor partners.
The immediate effects of an internship are easily known; benefits such as gaining professional experience, learning more about a particular trade, obtaining various technical and communication skills, etc. can all certainly be acquired during an internship and oftentimes are the most common. However, there are also numerous other aspects of an internship that add to a student’s individual personality, work ethic, and career outlook that may not be entirely obvious at the beginning of the internship.
Even though college is a time where students can learn more about themselves and their professional lives, some opportunities do not always present themselves unless specifically sought after. Such opportunities like possessing an internship, especially one that does not align to the student’s major or career aspirations, can be the ideal time for students to accurately learn more about the field they are aiming to enter.
During my time at International Floral Distributors, Inc. (IFD), not only did I become aware of the usual advantages of an internship, but I discovered much more by being a part of their team. I learned more about the marketing and floral industries as well as skills I was unaware I had prior to starting this internship.
Because of the way in which I was placed into a successful business, I needed to learn more about my work ethic and problem-solving skills. I improved my ability to adapt to any given situation in order to achieve the ultimate goal and work with a variety of individuals.
Furthermore, I learned what I wanted out of a professional career, and the environment in which I desire to work in. I have always been a creative person, having a passion for designing and creating new ideas. Since my internship at IFD is classified as a marketing internship, I created numerous marketing materials for the company and their annual Flower Trends Forecast.
While working on these projects, I became more aware of the enthusiasm I have always had for creativity. However, unlike in the past, these tasks were geared towards a specific business and their overall persona. Due to this specific requirement, I needed to ensure that the materials I was constructing embodied the personality IFD desired. For that reason, I learned how to adapt my creative abilities to fit more than one personality and goal.
A bit of this ability has previously come into play during my academic career, especially this past spring semester when I was on the publicity team for Ball State University’s online undergraduate literary journal, the Digital Literature Review. The materials I needed to create involved me publicizing the journal in a way that was most appealing to its targeted audience. Because of this previous experience, I was able to incorporate some of the same basic principles and knowledge into the materials I created for IFD this summer.
Other than specific technical abilities I acquired during my internship at IFD, I also discovered another career option for my life after Ball State University. Until this point in my life, I had only considered a marketing career in the healthcare or tourism industries, due to my previous academic and professional experience. However, the few months I have spent with IFD, their team members, and the industry as a whole has taught me that I should never limit myself on the possibilities my future holds. Even though I may not think of every possible scenario for a future career, that does not mean it does not exist.
With this newfound knowledge as well as the skills I have obtained because of my internship at IFD, I am now more prepared for what the future holds. What was initially a foggy and somewhat disconcerting point in my future is thankfully beginning to clear. I am looking forward to the ways in which I can utilize the skills I learned at IFD in the upcoming fall semester, especially my immersive learning class. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of a class that will be working with the Ball State English Department and the Muncie community organization, the Whitely Community Council.
I am forever thankful for everything IFD and its members have done for me on a personal and professional level. There will always be a special place in my heart for this past summer and everything I experienced. And for that exact reason, I would strongly encourage every college student to participate in at least one internship during their collegiate career. The relationships you develop and the knowledge you acquire during this time will never be repeated and will definitely never be forgotten.