It is true: a college degree can only get you so far. As a senior in college, this sounds unnatural to say as I, like many others, invest plenty of money into this degree. So, let me rephrase that. Your college degree can only get you so far, because it is what you make of it. Taking advantage of all that college has to offer and not just curriculum is what you need to be prepared for “adulting.” Joining clubs, taking on leadership roles and volunteering are all valuable experiences, but the most valuable experience that you should take advantage of is the ability to intern in what you enjoy doing.

My internships have taught me life lessons and aspects of public relations that my courses have not. Thanks to these internships, I can confidently enter the real world next year with goals and a career that makes me happy. The first thing I learned was organization. This is ironic because I usually boasted myself as an organized person before these opportunities; however, I realized how hectic I really was when I started my first internship. Projects, tasks and their deadlines are constantly being thrown at you. And, you have to keep track of the everyday items in the office, as well. A to-do list with deadlines is a must in PR, or really any career you end up in. An organized office space helps, too.

This is my fourth year working toward a degree in Communication and Business Administration. Throughout my years, I’ve taken PR and crisis communication courses. These classes have been interesting, but boy did my internship really show me what the truth is. Crisis communication teaches you that every day is a crisis, but it’s not. PR principles take you through the outdated ways of PR. But, PR is always evolving and changing, and it really isn’t just one discipline. It is marketing, event planning, media relations and social media, or in other words, anything we can do to please our clients and build their brand. It’s not just press release after press release like some courses may lead you to believe.

The most important thing I have learned at my internships is about myself. I have never been an academic by any means. When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to do and felt like there really wasn’t anything that stood out to me that I was really great at. When PR began to pique my interest, I started to realize it is possible to find a fun, busy and creative job that makes me feel confident. Without an internship, I wouldn’t have gained this confidence in doing something I truly enjoy and would still be unsure what to do after I graduate. So, thank you PR and to the wonderful agencies I have been able to be a part of for giving me a place to learn and grow. Now, time to finish that college degree!

– Keely Archambault