Afraid of getting your first internship? Me too.

If I had known that my experience as an intern would be this involved and rewarding, I probably wouldn't have put off applying for one for so long.

I’m midway through my junior year as an advertising major at Temple; still terrified of the unknown of whats to come after graduation, yet excited to finally be released from the 5:30-8 night classes and heavy backpacks. I’d never applied for an internship before this semester because I was worried about what to expect. My only experience listed on my resume is a few years of retail, and I wasn’t sure if I could really apply all that I had learned from my classes to whatever an office would throw at me; I take excellent notes, but I don’t always remember them, how could I? Now, I’m about two months in to my first internship, and the fear is GONE. Applying to be an intern for True Voice Media, a digital marketing agency in Center City, was maybe the best and most rewarding decision I’ve made in all my years in college; I can finally picture what my life could look like after graduation.

I found this internship by simply searching for advertising/marketing agencies in the city, and after having looked at their website and the work they offered, I took the leap of applying. I was lucky enough to hear back from Jeff, the founder of TVM and my advisor, so quickly. Our phone interview was short and simple; he shocked me with how kind and laid back he was, and how understanding he and his team were to getting a student with no prior internship experience. I was thrilled and terrified, and knew I had to give my absolute best effort, considering I had no experience to rely on. To make a good first impression on my first day, I brought everyone in the office home made carrot cupcakes, and although I was nearly shaking from anxiety, I forced myself to smile at everyone I met, knowing it would work more in my favor than letting the fear consume me.

Its a small team at True Voice Media, with just five people; Jeff, Janel, Jessie, Caroline, and Tim. And while the team is small, one of my first assignments given was to write a blog post for their website regarding their most recent accomplishment: being rated as Philly’s fourth top digital agency! For a team of five, they’re flooded with leads, work, and opportunity, and because of how busy they are, I’ve been given many opportunities to contribute.

Every Monday we have a team meeting where I take notes; we discuss the priorities for the week, the progress made from the prior week, and update each other on new clients. For each client’s ad strategy, there’s research that needs to be done regarding the client’s industry and competitors, which I have done a lot of. I’ve also optimized many of the client’s YouTube videos and accounts; searching for appropriate tags and writing detailed descriptions, and creating cover images in Canva. I take show notes for episodes of their two podcasts, and in this past month, I’ve been given two opportunities to be a guest speaker,  too!

While this internship is unpaid, in just the last few weeks or so my advisor has offered me some paid opportunities, and has even given me the option to learn from our Creative, Tim, where I will be able to see how he takes the shots we use for our ads, and see how he interacts with the clients face to face. How generous this company has been to me is overwhelming, and while I still often question my work, and if I’m actually making any real progress, they often remind me of how okay it is to still be learning, to ask questions, and to not know completely where I’m heading with my career; this is reassurance that I’ve been longing for for some time.

I guess what I had expected this experience to be like was for me to be making a lot of trips to Starbucks, and maybe organizing some old filing cabinet. If I had known that my experience as an intern would be this involved and rewarding, I probably wouldn’t have put off applying for one for so long. So my advice, to anyone who’s afraid of taking that first step towards an internship, would be to not over think the “what if’s.” You’ll never truly grow when you limit yourself to your comfort zone. You’ll also never be 100% right about anything you blindly judge. Challenge yourself; you’ll be happy you did.


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