As rewarding as your internship can be, there are some key challenges to be aware of when taking on an internship, such as:
1. Knowing your boundaries: By the time you approach your internship, you typically have mastered many basic PR skills. So what do you do when your boss spends two hours explaining something you spent an entire semester already learning, or does something that you have been taught repeatedly to be incorrect? An important understanding that you will have to come to get over the course of your internship is when to speak up to your boss and when to stay silent.
2. Coming to terms with the lack of pay: One day, as I was sitting at my desk working on an assignment, I realized, I’m making $2.50/hour to do something that in five months I’ll be doing for $35,000/year. Unfortunately, this is a challenge that you do not have any control over. Instead, you just have to accept that you need the experience in order to make the money later on.
3. Maintaining a professional relationship with the opposite sex: The company where I’m interning at now recently hired an outside agency for a project. This agency has an employee that continually made romantic advances at me to the point where I felt uncomfortable. After reporting the issue to my boss and the agency, he was reprimanded, and I was informed that I needed to monitor my behavior with male employees, as being too friendly may lead them to believe you have alternative motives.
4. Adjusting to different writing styles: One thing I’ve learned as an intern is that everyone has a different idea of how much detail should be put into a story and how it should be worded. At first, the adjustment wasn’t easy, but you will eventually gain the skills to quickly pick up on the format your boss prefers.
5. Job hunting: The thought of graduating and finally earning that college degree is thrilling … Until you begin your job hunt. Entry-level positions are few a far between, and even most entry-level postings that I’ve seen require at least 2 years of experience. All that I can say on this is to get yourself out there as much as you can, cross your fingers and good luck!
About the Author
Christina Starr is a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter via @c_c_starr.