My Freshman Internship Experience and What I Learned

hope-house-press-leather-diary-studio-PJzc7LOt2Ig-unsplashBy: Rachel Ornstein

We all know how challenging it is to land internships, especially as an underclassman. With the help of the PRSA website, I was lucky enough to find a small and local Public Relations and Event Management company. The owner was willing to bring me on board for an unpaid internship, and I have already learned more this summer than I could have ever imagined!

I have had several responsibilities at the company. First, I frequently worked on spreadsheets. For one event, I was assigned to input information about all the vendors that had attended.

Another task I was given was to create a media/outreach list for an upcoming event. I also got exposure to pitches and the process that a pitch goes through. Since I learned about press releases and pitches this past year through PRSSA, I get a kick out of seeing my company’s press releases to the media, and how they are crafted in just the way we learned!  

I also had my first introduction to the event management world; my boss told me to research some venues in a designated location for a client’s event. I was assigned to research dinner menus, available rooms, and venue photos. I then placed all this information into a separate spreadsheet. It was very important that I knew how to create a spreadsheet! 

I also spent a lot of time communicating with clients. Personally, I am a bit shy on the phone, so calling clients was a little intimidating. To help me, I decided to write a brief script to read while on the phone. With this, I included details about the specific event so that my mind didn’t go completely blank on the phone! I used a similar strategy with email; I wrote one general email that I sent to many addresses. However, I did have to craft follow-up emails individually. 

The most valuable part of my freshman internship was listening, observing the staff, and asking questions. Sometimes, I was able to hear my boss communicating with clients for upcoming events, which I found very interesting. The behind-the-scenes details of PR and event management companies were very interesting to discover. My favorite thing about my internship was the encouragement my boss gave me to attend the events that we all planned. I did hands-on work, such as helping tape out and designate numbered spots for vendors, mapping out where certain things would be on the grounds, and checking in with the vendors throughout the event. The experience of seeing the event come to life after working behind-the-scenes of it was so rewarding!

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