By Karis Hustad and Laura Kujava
Internship. The word sounds like the key to the future for most college students. It means the next step from lowly school-sponsored extra-curriculars to being in the real world: even if you're just grabbing coffee, at least you're grabbing coffee for a professional.
But this magical experience doesn't just fall from the sky. From weeding through countless postings on Craigslist to meticulously fine-tuning every last punctuation mark on your resume to the arduous wait for a phone call to the triumphant moment when you add your new position to your "Employment History" on Facebook, the process of obtaining an internship is the almost maschocistic process we love to hate.
And finally the first day comes and you walk through the doors of some office with new grown-up shoes (that WILL give you blisters) and you get a tour of your building so you know where to go to the bathroom and make copies, then you're plopped down at a desk and it hits you: getting the internship is only half the process. Now you're expected to actively contribute and make something of the experience. And here at ChiU, we're right there with you.
Laura and I both have our first internships this summer and we're going to take you along with us. Whether you are on your sixth internship or are looking for tips for how to land one yourself, we'll give you advice, anecdotes and thoughts to help you along the way.
But we'll need your help too!
We'll be throwing you a post every Monday, so we're going to need some material. If you have questions/thoughts/comments that you would like to see us discuss please email us at 1ChicagoU@gmail.com, tweet us @Chicago_U or write on our facebook fan page. You can also contact Laura or me with your individual questions. So to start, here is a little more about us:
Laura Rising Junior, Loyola University Chicago, Ad/PR
"I work as a public relations intern for my school, Loyola University of Chicago. I was very fortunate to snag this internship because not only do I get paid (minimum wage... at least it's something) but I also get college credit!
In case you don't know what a public relation intern does, and trust me neither did I before I started, I will fill you in on a normal day for me. I come into work around 8:30 a.m., which was definitely a rude wakeup call for a girl whose earliest class was 11:30 a.m. during the school year. First thing I check is if Loyola has been mentioned in the media, I do this by going to a site called newspaperclips.com. I then update the official Loyola Facebook and Twitter account, so if you follow Loyola it's me writing! The rest of my day consists of putting together press releases, media alerts, media lists, updating the press release archive, and sometimes I even get to sit in on meetings. My day ends at 5:00pm and I am usually very tired, but in a good mood because I love all my co-workers!
There are huge advantages to doing PR through my school. One of which is the fact that I really do get to write! Most interns main concern is remembering how their boss takes their coffee... and that definitely isn't the case for me. Loyola PR knows that I am a student that is trying to take in a lot of information all at once. My boss takes the time to edit all the releases I do and she sends them back to me with tracks so that I can learn something every time my finger hits a key. Even just today she told me that my writing has improved since I began four weeks ago!"
Karis Rising Junior, Loyola University Chicago, Journalism & Sociology
"I am an intern in the New Media department at WCCO TV and Radio, a CBS station in Minneapolis. I am in the newsroom two days per week from 9 to 6, and it's unpaid (I mean, I'm barely going to get paid as a working journalist...) but I am getting class credit.
Essentially what I do is help run WCCO.com. I add news posts from around the web to our social media aggregate The Wire (it's really cool, check it out!), write up stories from press releases, write "Best of" pieces, HTML code, convert broadcast scripts to online articles (broadcast writing and print writing are totally different), and a million little things that pop up in the nuances of WordPress. I also shadow reporters and producers whenever I can. Though I came into the internship a little intimidated I was thrilled to find that everyone was extremely nice and gave me so many opportunities: after the five days I already shadowed a reporter, published two articles of my own enterprising and took photos for CBS on Target Field at the Harmon Killebrew Memorial. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer holds!"
Want a question answered or want to share your internship experience with college students? Comment below!