Student Post: Summer Internships

This summer, thousands of Penn Staters are completing internships to gain valuable experience that will supplement what they learn in the classroom during the school year. Yari Acquino, one of our Lion Life interns last semester, is interning at a public relations firm in Miami this summer and took some time to share her experience so far:

Summer is here and although I was sad to leave Happy Valley, I could not be more excited to work in my first public relations agency as an intern all summer.

So far the experience has been priceless, which it often has to be for an unpaid intern such as myself. It’s really true when they say that hands-on experience is just as important as learning in the classroom. Through this internship, I have realized that what they teach us in class sets the foundation for what you learn when you are in the real world.

On my first day I could not have been more nervous, but that quickly eased up when I

Yari Acquino, left, is completing a public relations internship in Miami this summer.

Yari Acquino, left, is completing a public relations internship in Miami this summer.

realized how helpful and willing to teach my superiors were. I never felt like I couldn’t ask a question or like they expected me to already know how to do everything. My boss even sat down with me and went down a list of what my duties would be and explained each thoroughly.

On a daily basis, I write a variety of press releases and send them out to media outlets. I send so many emails a day that Gmail has even locked me out for reaching their limit! I also monitor the media to see if our clients have been mentioned in any new articles or to see if there is any news that we can form a press release around. I love having my own desk because it makes me feel like an actual employee. I have never had to run out and get coffee; actually my boss is so kind that she often buys us coffee when she gets some herself.

The craziest part of entering the real world to me was that now if I messed something up it doesn’t just get me a bad grade, now it actually matters and affects others. This is one of the things I liked most because it feels like you’re actually valuable to the company, not just a student.

I found this internship through Penn State Career Services. I was between this one and another in New York City, but when I weighed one against the other I realized this one was a better fit. When deciding on an internship, you really want to take into consideration which one will give you the most experience. This one requires me to work on real public relations tasks every day. The other one I was considering included duties such as “watering plants” and was only three days a week, but it was with a bigger company. I chose the first one, because I knew this is where I would learn the most.

To end this post I just want to say that as cliché as it sounds, the advice everyone is constantly giving you is true: Every internship is what you make of it. If you go and just do the minimum work, you will get through it but you won’t gain anything in the long run.

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