I started as an intern at Curator in December and once winter quarter ended, I decided to stay another three months. As this is an unpaid internship, I had a lot of friends asking why I would stay when I could have an easy final quarter before I graduate. I simply explained I wanted the extra experience.
Well, now that my time is coming to an end, I can say I’m glad I stayed.
My advice to all the interns out there is this: if you’re given the opportunity to extend your internship, whether you’re paid or not, you should definitely accept. Here’s why:
You get three extra months of experience. For college students, most PR internships have a timeframe of three months, which seems like a while but, in reality, is barely enough time to get your toes wet. Toward the end, you finally start catching a rhythm and making fewer mistakes on tasks that actually take a lot of practice to perfect, although they may seem easy. In this field, you’re expected to pay excellent attention to detail, which can take a great deal of practice for some people.
You get to take on bigger tasks. If you’ve been offered an extension on your internship, this is your opportunity to do more and learn new things. You’ve proven your ability to get things done and complete basic research and media monitoring efficiently, as well as shown eagerness to take on additional projects. In the second half of my internship, I spent the majority of my time on different projects that I found I really enjoyed. The opportunity to expand my work really solidified PR is the field I want to pursue post-graduation.
You get to know the team better. And they get to know you. Three months is not a lot of time to get to know your colleagues. The people in the company where you intern are helpful for networking or finding jobs down the road. Between every day office chatter and collaborative work on various account teams, you get to know one another on an individual basis, allowing for a better understanding of each others work style and ethics. As an intern, you learn and grow a lot – they get to witness that and if you use them as a reference later on, they’ll probably speak to your improvement and personality. Plus, they’ll also continue to give you valuable advice.
You get a better feel for the bigger picture. As an intern, you’re usually doing smaller projects and you only get to see one piece of the pie. When you stay at an agency for a longer period of time, you get to see the outcome of the projects you worked on three months prior. You get to see so many initiatives unfold and witness all that goes into it. That gives you a better idea of the types of things you might do later in your career.
Interning is such a valuable experience in general and I can definitely say I’m leaving Curator a better student and young professional than I was when I walked in. I’ve had a great experience in the last six months at Curator and I’m so sad to go!