My first impression of an internship was at nine years old with the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada.” From that moment on, I feared the day I would have to face my own version of Miranda Priestly.
When I became a junior at Butler University, it was time to start applying for internships and inching towards a life-long career. Interviews often have a stigma for being brutal. These situations make you question your own thoughts and actions and wonder if it’s too soon for a follow-up call. If an offer is secured, you can only breathe momentarily until your first day.
I’ve compiled my top five expectations versus realities of an internship. Specifically, this applies to my role as the marketing and public relations intern with Crossroads of America Council, Boy Scouts of America (CAC). This article is to help show that internships aren’t as scary as Andrea Sachs led us to believe as she took on Runway Magazine.
Expectation: You will only complete miniscule tasks.
Reality: I always feared my role as an intern would be snatching coffee for everyone in the office or delivering vital documents across town. However, at CAC, I am given projects that directly impact local scouting. I have worked on tactics for this year’s membership strategy, crafted articles to current members and prospective families, designed flyers and promotional catalogs, drafted social media scripts and readied media advisories. These projects help ensure I am aiding to the success of the scouting movement.
Expectation: You’ll have nothing in common with other employees.
Reality: I have realized that my co-workers and I can hold meaningful conversations pertaining to our similarities and interests. While there may not be a large age gap between co-workers and myself, we are simply in different life stages. While on Butler’s campus, I can engage with every student I pass. Each classmate and I have one thing in common: the struggle of college. Whether we discuss our lack of sleep, abundance of dirty laundry, or our aching need for spring break; there is always a neutral ground for conversation. I am able to find this neutral ground with my co-workers, because we chose our career path based on our personal attributes, characteristics and interests.
Expectation: You won’t have clear instructions on projects.
Reality: I quickly gathered that my internship at CAC would be based on clear project instructions and my questions would be answered quickly. The concept of an internship is to gain experience and without this internship I would not feel prepared to progress towards my career. Interning at CAC has challenged me, but always in the direction I am seeking to be pushed.
Expectation: You won’t be able to balance work AND school.
Reality: At Butler University, internships are required. As a double major in Marketing and Art + Design, I must complete three internships to graduate. With a rigorous course load, it’s no surprise that I was worried about balancing my internship and schoolwork.
I quickly realized my supervisors understood that I am a student, not just an intern. They remained extremely flexible and gave me adequate time to make it to class. If I were in need of a supplemental interview for my internship paper, they were happy to help. If I had numerous exams in a week, they understood. While there are still high expectations for my work within CAC, they are realistic. I am never asked to do something that is out of reach, but I am still challenged.
Expectation: The internship won’t be applicable to your career path.
Reality: I am still determining my career path. While my specific title is marketing and public relations intern, my projects have granted experience in both marketing and design. This internship has helped me better determine where I want to be after graduation.
The expectations I developed from Miranda Priestly have subsided now that I uncovered the reality of an internship. I have learned so much through my semester at CAC. I have developed skills and experience that I will take with me on whatever career path I may follow. “Be prepared,” is the scouting motto and that is exactly how I feel at the end of my first internship experience.