By Ashleigh Mavros
I fell in love this summer. Not with a boy, a catchy summer song or even Jeni’s Ice Cream (but for which I did develop a slight addiction). No, I was swept off my feet by Fahlgren Mortine, the fully integrated agency in Columbus where I interned this summer as the Founder’s Award PR intern. Like any typical relationship, we had our ups and downs and, like all good things, eventually had to come to an end.
My First Impression
I heard about Fahlgren Mortine at the first PRSSA meeting I attended as a freshman with Aaron Brown as a guest speaker. At the time, I really had no idea what PR entailed and honestly was pretty scared about what Aaron had to say about agency life; it didn’t sound like my cup of tea at the time, especially as I was a magazine feature writing major. I had a bad first impression, but as the years went on I was able to hear from more associates at the agency and I started to understand what agency PR was really like.
I Had a Crush
After speaking with more associates from the agency, I started to understand that Fahlgren was not only unique because it was an integrated agency, but because its culture at the office was unlike any other. It developed over time, but I had to admit; I had a crush on Fahlgren. I applied for the summer internship, but as with most crushes, I thought it would be out of my league and didn’t get my hopes up. With two weeks before summer break I got the call for an interview. Then began the butterflies in my stomach.
With a stroke of faith, it happened that I was actually going with PRSSA to do an informational group interview that very next day. Talk about a stroke of luck. I got to tour the office and speak with a handful of associates while soaking in everything I could for my interview.
I returned the following week for my interview and was told a couple days later I had gotten the position. I still remember immediately calling my mom after getting the phone call with tears in my eyes. Everything had fallen perfectly into place for the summer.
The amount of projects and clients I was given right away was incredible; talking to my mom after the first week she asked, “they’re really letting you do that much?!” I touched a little bit of everything with clients ranging from corporate powerhouses to small non-profits. As a turn of luck, an associate left in the middle of June and since they would need time to hire someone else, I took on a large amount of her entry-level associate work. I was challenged and pushed outside my boundaries on a daily basis; something I always look for in a meaningful relationship. I was constantly learning and never stopped asking “why?”
I enjoyed every day in the office and never left without a smile on my face. From going to the movies, rooting on the Tribe at an Indians game or stuffing my face at Watermelon Fest, I loved every minute spent with my colleagues. I wasn’t really treated as an intern, and that’s a good thing. Truth be told, I didn’t make a single pot of coffee. Instead, I was given a wide range of responsibility and built relationships with those in the office. Everything I went through this summer, Fahlgren Mortine was there for me; adjusting to Columbus, getting a horrible eye infection, having a broken phone and computer at the same time and having to buy a new car. The support I received was incredible; I couldn’t have been happier.
It came out of nowhere. My 12 weeks with Fahlgren was over and it was time to move on with my life. I knew that the time was coming, but I just couldn’t bear to face the facts. Gone was the excitement I had in the morning looking forward to the office, the new assignments in my inbox and the endless supply of Diet Cokes and trail mix. We parted ways on a good note promising to keep in touch, because you know, there’s always a chance for a second try.