Hi everyone. My name is Raina Stroescu and I am a public relations major at the University of Oklahoma who has been interning with PRSA Silicon Valley the past few months. I’m about to enter my senior year of college and begin the job application process. Scary, I know.
For many of us this is right around the corner. Thinking back on myself a year ago, I wish someone would have shared their experiences as an intern, concerns, and advice from exposure to the working world. I would like to be that person for those of you out there who might be feeling the same as I was last year, and to those, including myself, who are facing the frightening reality of becoming “a real adult” after college.
We all go into internships or jobs with some hesitation or anxiety. My biggest concern was the fact that I had absolutely no idea what direction of public relations I wanted to go into. I still feel this way sometimes. Now, I am worried I won’t enjoy my job or internship. I am worried I won’t have a challenging enough role in my day to day. I am worried about the current work life in our society, and if I can manage the possibility of a remote job. I am worried, as a woman, if I will have the equal opportunity for professional growth in a certain company.
Although each of these concerns can easily overwhelm me, I often remind myself of the excitement for the unknown and new beginnings that outweigh these anxieties. Entering my current internship, I reminded myself of these concerns, and used them as motivation to dive deep into my role with PRSA-SV.
Before I started my internship with PRSA-SV, I had several broad and generic expectations: I would try a variety of tasks, collaborate with experienced professionals, be privileged enough to have a mentor, and grow myself as a future professional through my new learning endeavors. All of which I have accomplished during my time here.
I will say, there have been many challenges faced as I navigated my way throughout the unfamiliar waters of the working world. My internship with PRSA-SV has taught me lessons I will carry with me into my next internship and future career once I graduate college. I now consider these lessons useful tools I might not have gained in a classroom setting; I am appreciative I was able to take the following away with me:
- Remain proactive and try to always be one step ahead
- Everyone is willing to guide you, as long as you are self-sufficient
- The knowledge and understanding on how to work through certain processes are mostly learned outside of school
- Plan your weeks out ahead of time to manage your tasks well
- Internships are a great learning and networking experience regardless of what your career focus is at the time
- Criticism is your best friend.
Ultimately, I would advise anyone in the same or similar position as me to take this to heart. Reach out and connect to people. Ask questions, even if you think they are unimportant. Sometimes you may feel frustrated or stuck with not knowing what you want to do with your degree or path, and that’s okay. Trying new things will show you what you like and dislike. Apply for a variety of internships, regardless of if you think you won’t enjoy it; the role could end up being something you are naturally good at.
At this age we do not know our full potential yet or where our path is going to lead us. However, we do know the importance of challenging ourselves, pushing forward and using the assets around us to reach our goals.
This internship has been a great learning opportunity for me and has given me more experience in the working world. PRSA-SV provided many useful tools for me to be successful and grow as a student and professional. I encourage anyone in this position to connect with your local PRSA chapter about internships and mentorships.