My name is Jaclyn MacKrell and I am currently a junior advertising major with a concentration in account management. For the entirety of my junior year, I’ve been interning with Paragraph Inc., a branding agency in Center City. This was my first time in an agency setting, and began at a time where I was just beginning to take my upper level major classes. Lacking extensive experience and background before beginning this internship was both nerve-wracking and discouraging. We’ve all heard the phrase, “You’re going to need to know this in the real world” numerous times. However, when we’re sitting in a basic communications class, we wonder how a lecture on the history of the printing press or why writing a report on your favorite Super Bowl commercial could really impact our professional lives. Looking back, it’s apparent that we all underestimate the power of introductory level and even general education classes to prepare us for our chosen professions.
Whether or not you’ve taken all of your required classes or just general education courses, you adopt a wide variety of transferable skills. Time management, how to create presentable work, and public speaking are just a few of the basic skills that are used in the classroom as well as the office. Similarly, writing is something we all view as a tedious, basic requirement for almost all college courses. Getting constant practice and improving this skill is crucial for succeeding in the advertising industry.
Remember all of those group projects that seem pointless, daunting, and frustrating? This is something you are exposed to on a regular basis in an advertising agency. Working with others, learning to take constructive criticism, and constantly updating your work are things you’ll have to do with both your team and clients.
Lastly, the introductory level classes I’ve taken in my major have proven to be extremely beneficial. Though they seem like you are just scratching the surface of certain programs or skills, this general knowledge is usually what is expected of you in your first internship. Having a basic understanding of various Google platforms, Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, and other programs and operations has given me the foundation to succeed in the workplace and expand my knowledge in a real-world setting.
It is important to remember that internships are opportunities for learning. Ask questions, take initiative, and push yourself to make the most your of your education. The rest of it, you’ll learn along the way.