For the spring of 2021, I worked as an intern for Little Giant Creative (LGC). Or I should say the intern. At first, I was nervous about being the only intern at the company, but the experience I gained while working there definitely made up for it.

This internship experience was very different from my last few. At my other internships, I had constant check-ins and meetings with my mentors to make sure I was on the right track with my work and making good progress. But at LGC, I was given a hands-off approach. It was a bit of a culture shock at first because I was left thinking, “did the assignment I’m working on look okay? Was the tone I was using for the client the right one?” However, I quickly realized that this is what a real job would be like. I wouldn’t have someone looking over my shoulder at every step of the way; I would have to figure it out on my own.

This realization helped me be more productive with my time and even helped me become a more independent worker. I wasn’t constantly waiting for feedback, I’d just get started on the next project or just cross-reference my work with other similar work and rework the document myself.

Being a part of a small team also gave me insight into almost every aspect of advertising. Working under the project managers, I got to see how the client side of things was handled and how the client’s needs were translated to the rest of the team. Moreover, I was involved with the strategic side of things while also brainstorming the art side of it all.

To someone looking for their first internship, I’d share the advice to try going the traditional route first–try working in a company with an established internship program. This will help you get used to the corporate lifestyle and even help you understand the intricacies of it through your mentor or supervisor. When you’re a bit more seasoned with internships, try paving your own way and seeking out companies that do work in an area you’re interested in. Then, even if they don’t have a fully set up internship program, you can vouch for yourself by showcasing your experience and your ability to handle yourself.