Why Intern after Graduate School?

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In March, I walked through the doors of Arch Street Communications not knowing what to expect. After spending a year and a half in Boston and London earning my master’s degree, it felt strange to be taking on another internship. As I walked into the building for my first day, I was concerned this would be another coffee runner internship, filled with long days of filing and grunt work.

It took only a moment for those concerns to be erased. Within the second I put my bag down, I was pulled into a meeting and giving feedback on a website’s design. The rest of the day continued with the same momentum of meeting coworkers and participating in project strategy development. By the end of the day, I was excited for more.

So why would I take an internship after completing my education? Aren’t internships for college credit? At first yes, an internship is a great place for students to get their first taste of the workforce, however the marketplace is changing and the demand for seasoned employees even applies to those just entering the workforce. When I saw that ASC posting for an intern, I jumped at the chance to expand my skill set in a new learning environment.

The atmosphere of ASC is one of creativity, community, and common purpose. One of the perks of working in a small business is that everyone in the office is within earshot. Ideas and debate are free to flow through the air like petals on the wind, and every idea was worth exploring, regardless of its source.

This constructive atmosphere has been one of the most inclusive office experiences that I have ever worked in. In the following months, I found myself being involved with more clients and creative elements such as blogging and strategy development. The true gem came a month into my internship when I began work on my own projects involving celebrating the 25th anniversary of ASC and strategizing the next step in ASC’s growth.

Reflecting on the past several months, the amount I have learned during my time with ASC would rival many of my graduate classes. The experiences I have from working alongside a fantastic team of intelligent and diverse individuals are ones that I will take with me throughout the rest of my professional life.

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SpongeBob to ASC—My Internship in 5 Points

Shantol Williams

There’s a SpongeBob SquarePants episode in which SpongeBob breaks into a sweat trying to choose 10 words to describe “What I learned in boating school.” If you haven’t seen it, here’s the gist:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8AiuTO7sXY\

Suffice it to say, SpongeBob and I are perfectionists when it comes to writing about ourselves and our experiences – every thought must be complete, every “T” must be crossed, and every memory must be detailed.

So now it’s my turn, and while it’s not easy to edit down my every memory on the countless lessons I’ve learned during my internship at ASC—here’s a summary in 5 points:

 

1)      Event management & event planning are different

In school, I believed event planning and management were interchangeable because I was active in both roles. But ASC has taught me that, although it is important to coordinate all event logistics before the event, the responsibility does not end when the show is on the road. Managing an event means having a contingency plan, being aware of the event activities, and having a flexible staff—all things  things that lead to a successful event.

 

2)      There is no such thing as a small task, even if it may seem that way on the surface

Internships have a stigma attached where it is assumed that interns do the grunt work and are typically not trusted with large tasks. However, I never felt like an intern at ASC – I simply felt like part of the team. And because of this, no task was too small and every task was important.

 

3)      There is no such thing as a bad idea

I have a great fear of saying the wrong thing, so I tend to say nothing at all. ASC provided a safe environment to voice my thoughts and opinions without fear. At ASC, I found that the team encourages and values every idea put on the table because every idea leads to a bigger picture. I think the important lesson here is that an idea is just a seed and a seed can grow into many different things – but only if it’s planted.

 

4)      There are benefits to working for a small business

Working in a small business allows for one-on-one attention. Building relationships with clients and coworkers is easy, asking questions when you need clarification is easier, and it allowed me the opportunity to be involved in several projects. This gave me a more rounded look at the different parts of public relations and marketing.

 

5)      Teamwork really does matter

Before working at ASC, I understood the importance of teamwork to an extent. But seeing how everyone worked together and easily extended help to others when they could, really showed me the strength of being a team. In the real world, you are teaming up with clients, contractors, and a list of other people to complete a project or launch a successful event. What I learned at ASC is that everyone has a voice and every voice matters.

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Ready to Roll: 5 Tips to Prepare for Bike to Work Day

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Friday, May 20, is Bike to Work Day. It is a chance to showcase the many benefits of cycling—and encourage more folks to give biking a try. The annual event, celebrated coast to coast, has become a soapbox for increased interest in cycling. In the metropolitan Washington region, participation in Bike to Work Day has increased every year since its inception, beginning with only a few hundred registrants and swelling to more than 17,500 in 2015.

Celebrated in May each year, the event supports cycling as a healthy commuting option that saves money, reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality. Here are tips to help you prepare and make the most of Bike to Work Day in your area:

1) Get involved.

More than half of the largest US cities host Bike to Work Day events. It’s a once-a-year opportunity to measure the level of ridership in the region, data that can be used throughout the year to advocate for better bicycling and bicycling infrastructure. So make sure you’re counted by registering for your local event. If there are no events in your community, promote your support for bike commuting by posting on social media using #BikeToWorkDay2016.

2) Plan your route.

Make sure you know the best way to get to work and how long it will take to get there. Google Maps‘ handy bicycling directions tool allows you to plug in your beginning and ending locations as well as any pit stops you might want to hit up on the way to work.

3) Check your bike.

Get your bike in tip-top shape before you take to the streets. Check air pressure, brakes, chains and cranks. An easy way to make sure your bike is in good working order is to do an ABC Quick Check.

4) Dress for success.

Wear what makes you comfortable and visible to traffic. If that’s not your business clothes, fold them into your backpack or bike rack and change before going to your desk. If rain’s in the forecast protect yourself with a rain jacket or poncho and clear-lens glasses to shield your eyes from heavy rain and help with visibility.

5) Ride with a buddy or join a convoy.

Biking to work can be intimidating for a novice. Ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker to ride together, or consider joining a convoy to ride in a larger group. That way you have someone to help navigate and enjoy the journey.

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