This summer, I decided to take an internship outside of public relations and outside of the US – clearly a very scary and nerve-racking option. I was in Bratislava, Slovakia teaching personal development to 10 to 15 year olds. We had two sessions of kids, and I work alongside students from Michigan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Brazil and Hong Kong. These students and interns are changing my life, and transforming me into a better version of myself each and every day. I’m learning more about myself, my future and other cultures than I ever imagined I could.
I was always someone with plans. Plans for the week, plans for the year, plans for every internship I would ever take, and plans for my entire future. This summer, I’m tearing apart these plans and drawing new ones. Never in a million years would I have pictured myself teaching personal development to teens, but here I am. I’m now realizing that some of the best opportunities in life come when we are willing to set aside these plans. Always follow your heart wherever it may take you. If it’s not in the plan, that’s OK. If it’s something you’re passionate about, don’t let anything else stop you.
Through our classes and in PRSSA, we’re taught a variety of skills useful for public relations. However, these skills can be applied in so many more situations than I ever realized. Although my internship this summer is not inherently PR, I’m using the skills I’ve learned to help these kids follow their dreams and prepare for their future. I’ve realized that I can use the skills I’ve learned to help others and make an impact in so many different ways.
I’m also learning the importance of making time for you. I don’t mean time for watching TV or reading, but time to think. Time to analyze what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what you want to be doing in the future. I’ve never taken so much time to think about these things until this summer, but I now understand so much about myself that I didn’t even know before. Three years ago, I was asked to write down everything I valued and anything I’d be willing to die for. At the time, I honestly didn’t know what to write down. Because I’ve taken time for myself this summer, I now have a list of things. I understand why I do what I do, what makes me happiest and what I value most in this world and that feels pretty incredible.
My internship this summer is teaching me to embrace changes and find creative ways to use my skills to help others. Taking an unconventional internship in a foreign country turned out to be the best decision of my life, and it has forever changed me.
Jess Carnprobst is a Senior studying Strategic Communications with a minor in Marketing and a Global Leadership Certificate. Follow her on Twitter @jess_carnprobst!