You Always Take Something With You When You Go
“This internship has nothing to do your English degree—why are you even here?” A tall young man holding a nice camera used for recording the resident talent had questioned my bizarre motives.
I turned to face him wondering the exact same thing. “I have no idea.”
An afternoon of looking for stock photos for a video on smoking, later that day, had me staring at, what looked to be, an image of a giant squid riding a brachiosaurus on my computer screen. It was at this point that I decided I couldn’t possibly apply anything that I had learned during this internship into my future career.
That day came during the summer right before my last quarter of my undergraduate program. I was juggling an editorial assistant job in Beverly Hills, a position as an intern at a small film studio for Internet-famous types somewhere in the valley, and part time employment at a popular fashion retailer.
I wanted to slip into a life of journalism somewhere in Hollywood or Los Angeles, but I was quickly realizing that the realm of entertainment journalism might not be the best fit. It felt as though I had wasted time in signing on to so many different positions, and I still couldn’t figure out a reason why I needed these internships after my hectic summer.
It wasn’t until I found myself managing teams of my own interns during my job as an editor and later as a social media analyst did I realize that I did pick up a few things at my own internships, besides a new bizarre hashtag and everyone else’s coffee.
I had added tons of tips and tricks to my social media-managing repertoire, digital hacks, editing tips, how to guide a team of interns, and I connected to a slew of new contacts that helped move forward in my career.
Every now and then people ask me if all my internships were worth it, and now I respond every time with an “oh my God, yes!” Half of what I have taken with me into my career in communications today came from, what seemed at the time, all of my random internships and jobs. My graphic design skills came from becoming an architecture school drop out, my marketing skills came from a time that I spent working with a hypnotist (that’s a whole other story), and my skills in managing projects and leading others partially came from the summer I spend making new friends and having way too much fun in LA.
I don’t have regrets about any of my jobs now. It took me a second to realize it, but I have always taken something useful with me from every position I had, and it has lead me to this wonderful blossoming career I’m building today.