With the news of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s interns suing them in the media at the moment, I thought it would be fitting to write a post about interning. (MK&A’s interns are suing for working ridic hours without pay or academic credit.)
Being a PR/Communication student, I’ve done my fair share of interning. Some good, some bad.
I spent a week at a fashion magazine, which was a solid medium on the “decent work experience scale”. The only downfalls of this was that if they get you to write something and it gets published in the magazine, you don’t get credit. That, and you transcribe ALOT. Other then that my time at the fashion magazine was awesome. I learnt a lot and had a great time. In hindsight, I think the reason I loved this so much was because it was the first time I spent a week alone living in the city. IT WAS GREAT. (Fun anecdote: By the Friday when I met my Dad for lunch, I was complaining about how many tourists were everywhere, before he reminded me that I was one.)
I’ve been at a few fashion/beauty PR companies which to say the least, sucked big time. When you go to intern somewhere, you obviously don’t expect to be developing campaigns and pitching for clients. That said, you do expect to do some work vaguely related to PR. The only work I did was steam clothes, get coffee and pack up mail send outs to media outlets.
Whilst my time at these places sucked, they were valuable learning experiences nonetheless. Some things I learnt from these shitty experiences:
- You can’t please everyone.
- Some people (especially in the fashion PR world), get really affected by it all.
- People dress very casually in office settings nowadays.
- That said, sheike casual.
- You get zero free stuff (Fun anecdote; when I interned at said magazine, it was my first time ever in the real professional “fashion” world. Me being the wide eyed, naïve 19 year old I was, I thought I’d get so much free stuff. Don’t ask me why, I just expected to be showered in free gifts, or swag as the kids the say. In reality I got no gifts and I was v disappointed.)
- People are super finicky about their coffee orders. SOY MILK EVERYWHERE.
- Steaming machines are annoying and somewhat of a hazard if you’re incredibly clumsy.
- Some people have no trouble at all treating other people like slaves and all you can really do is just push through knowing you’re a 10x better person.
- Really think about an opportunity before you take it. Most internships run for about three months and are one to two days a week. “Can I fit this into my schedule and still remain somewhat sane?” Is a questions you should ask yourself.
- As trite as it sounds, hard work and dedication do pay off.
These days, I’m very lucky to be interning at a place I love. I’m at a local PR company not even ten minutes from my house. Most of all, the director is lovely. She gets me to do actual tasks that PR people do, teaches me things and is even letting me assist with a media event. In all honesty, I’ve learnt more in my eight weeks there then I have anywhere else.
I guess if this post has a point, it’s that yes interning can suck big time. But it’s one of those necessary evils in some industries. You need to experience shitty working environments and people, because not everywhere you work is going to be roses and a jolly ‘ole time. You’ll learn resilience, people skills and future employers will see how dedicated you actually are to your field of work. Plus they make when you get a good gig all the more better.
Most of all, interning at different places helps you learn specifically where you want to end up in your career. I used to be big into journalism; I wanted to be a fashion editor at a magazine. Having seen the inside of an actual fashion magazine, I’ve learnt that this isn’t the case. PR, freelance writing and blogging is the life for me.
Let me know your interning stories in the comments!
Til next time,