Walking up the steps and into the office building clad in the Matter signature red, I had no idea what to expect for my summer internship. I had never worked in the PR industry and didn’t know much more about it than the average person would. With each step a new idea of the stereotypical intern flashed through my head, fetching coffee all day, making endless photocopies, organizing mountains of documents. I wondered if I would be able to make an impact through my work or if I would simply be labeled as “the intern” and be pushed aside.
As I toured through the office I was greeted by a sea of smiles and there seemed to be a buzz of energy throughout. There were people actually excited about their work. I saw focused groups of people in conference rooms, heard hopeful chatter about upcoming projects, and felt completely welcome. I knew then that this internship would be much different from what I had expected. By the end of the day I had attended two meetings, been assigned one project, and made 0 cups of coffee.
Fast forward one month, and I have learned that one of my biggest challenges is not the result of being pinned with mindless busy work, but rather finding out how to stay busy. The entry-level hand holding stops when I complete an assigned project and begins when I realize I am on the clock and I don’t have someone constantly telling me what to do. I learned that if there is a lull in my workload, the best thing for me to do is reach out to both the members of accounts I am working on, or basically anyone in the office for that matter, and ask where and how I can provide help. I discovered that when most people have too much work, their first reaction is not to pass it onto the intern, which is why I have learned how important it is to remind co-workers that I am here to help wherever I am able. As a result of this, I have had many willing people reach out to me for help on a project, and while sometimes they spend more time walking me through it than they would have spent working on it alone, I have always been received with a positive attitude. It is this focusing and engaging environment that has fostered my growth as an aspiring professional and helped me to learn much more than I could have imagined in a month.
While I have certainly drank quite a bit of coffee, I have not become any type of coffee mule around the office. I have worked on real projects for real clients. I have taken on the mindset of someone who wants to learn, which has done me a significant amount of good in an environment with so many people who are willing to teach. My experience at Matter has broken just about every internship stereotype while the fun, encouraging environment has sparked my early interest in PR, which keeps me coming back motivated each morning.