By: Emily O’Brien
And in the blink of an eye, my internship at Lee & London is coming to an end. I told myself when I started here that I would make a final blog post reflecting on my entire experience as a ~virtual~ Intern at Lee & London, so here it is. If I’m being honest here, I have no idea where to begin, it’s incredibly difficult to try and put into words just how grateful I am for this experience.
Let’s start here, never in my entire college experience have I learned so many valuable skills in such a short period of time. My University does not have a Public Relations major, and there’s only one course that covers PR. While my Intro to PR class was my favorite class I had ever taken, it’s safe to say I had no clue what the day-to-day of a Public Relations professional actually looked like. My knowledge started and ended at “Cision will be your best friend.” Granted, that statement has remained entirely true, but I have learned so much more in the process than just that. I now know more about how to curate a killer media list, write a pitch that won’t make journalists slam their head against their desk, and I understand the strategic thinking made behind every PR project and decision. I could not have gained any of those skills if it were not for the help and mentoring that those above me offered, and while I’m sure my questions drove them crazy from time to time, they never showed my curiosity off (see blog post 2 – virtual communication is key for more on that).
Additionally, I got to work hand-in-hand with an incredible team to bounce ideas off of one another, brainstorm, and overall form great connections with people all over the United States. I started this blog series with a focus on virtual internships vs. in-person internships and while there are absolutely some major differences (not getting to collaborate with the team in person, not being able to raise your hand for quick questions, and not witnessing company culture first-hand, being some), the purpose and outcome of an internship remained the same. The other interns and I were given a shot at a first-hand experience within the Public Relations field, and that is something that no college class or youtube tutorial could ever teach. We were welcomed into the team and respected as team members, given tasks to complete that would challenge and teach us, and offered front-row seats for witnessing PR pros work their magic for their clients.
If you are an aspiring professional in any career field, chase any opportunity you get, virtual or not virtual, the most valuable thing we can experience is the freedom to chase the opportunities we want.
If you are a seasoned professional in any career field, offer people opportunities to learn from you – they want to so bad and there are so many incredible young professionals who would kill for an opportunity to witness you excel at a field they are interested in. You have so much to teach, and they have so much they want to learn.
All in all, we are all experiencing a crazy time right now, the world is changing in an immeasurable way and we are all just trying to figure out how to live our lives amid a global crisis. Don’t let the uncertainty of the times derail you from chasing your dreams. What’s my dream? To work at a Public Relations agency in a city (any city) and more importantly to never lose my passion for PR and my drive to keep learning.
If anything, let this awful experience of living through a pandemic put into perspective what you want most out of the story that is your life. Embrace any opportunities, chase your aspirations, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself and others in the process. It’s not always about growing your career skills, sometimes it’s just about growing.