It’s been 6 weeks (??!!!) since touching down in London, and since then, I’ve learned a lot during my internship. Not only am I gaining valuable experience in the world of PR, particularly in an agency setting, I’m learning a lot about how to function in the general working world.
I report to work at 9 a.m. and leave at 5:30 p.m., with an hour break for lunch around 12:30 (and don’t forget the 45-minute commute each way!). Most of my work so far has revolved around a campaign where we’re asking schools across the UK to tell us, either in the form of an online survey or submissions to a website, about how they incorporate technology into learning. I’ve spent much of my time calling schools and inviting them to participate. It sounds easy on the surface, but it’s very tiring to make the same pitch many times throughout the day. Yet, this task has probably been my greatest learning experience, because it has taught me not only about PR but about the general working world. These lessons can apply to any job.
- You will be given tasks you don’t like or find boring. Oftentimes, those tasks contribute to something larger and more important for the business, so it may take a while to see the fruits of your labor.
- Complaining about those tasks won’t make them any better and won’t make them go away, either. Just do them and your co-workers –particularly your supervisors – will love you for it.
- It’s OK from time to time to get up from your desk, walk around for a bit and ask your co-workers about what they’re doing. You don’t truly become part of the work environment by staying at your desk all day and trying to get everything done by yourself. And your eyes and legs with thank you for it when you’ve spent all day sitting at a desk and looking at a computer screen.
- In order to receive more challenging tasks, you’ll have to take some time and complete simpler, less challenging ones first.
- If a task seems too overwhelming, take a moment, breathe and plan out a way to break the large task into smaller ones. You’ll find the job much easier to do if you set smaller goals as you go.
- Drink water throughout the day and make sure you always have something to keep you busy. That is how you maintain energy and focus during a 7-8 hour workday.
I’ve also learned that in the UK, going out with co-workers after work is an important part of the culture. I’d never seen my co-workers outside the office, but that changed on two nights last week. On the first night, my fellow IU intern and I volunteered at a charity gala. Our agency did the event management and communications for the charity, so they asked some of the newer employees (namely, the interns) to walk around and sell raffle tickets. Since the event was held in the gardens of a palace, it was pretty fancy, needless to say. The volunteers got to try some of the fancy appetizers and even a little bit of champagne. The appetizers were amazing, so I can only imagine how good dinner must have been!
The following evening, I was invited to join my department in celebrating a co-worker’s upcoming wedding with food and drinks at a little outdoor restaurant along the River Thames (which was mainly blocked by trees and fence). I loved being able to spend time with co-workers outside of the office. Everyone, even people whose names I still can’t remember, was coming up to me and asking me how I’ve been enjoying the internship and London. One of the things I like most about my internship is how much they care about giving their interns the best learning experience possible.
It’s hard to believe I only have two weeks left!