Anything But Normal

Another summer has come and gone. As I sit back and reflect, I notice that it was a summer full of growth, both personally and professionally. I completed an internship in Cleveland, Ohio, working as a public relations intern for a one-of-a-kind company. My internship was with a family-owned and operated business called Bearded Buch that specializes in Kombucha. I’ve said my goodbyes, cleared my desk and perfected my resume, but now what?

I could express my newfound love for Kombucha, or joke about lunch breaks turned shopping trips, but the truth is I gained real-world experience within the past four months and I think that’s worth sharing.

I’ll start by saying that internships are tricky and the application process is exhausting. I applied anywhere and everywhere. I even applied for internships I knew I had no shot of getting. I wanted to be ambitious because I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. After some time, I finally had a company reach out to me. This company was Bearded Buch. I spoke with the owner through email, then phone and finally in person. Everything felt right. I knew I wanted to be a part of this company somehow, even if it was just as an intern.

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Little did I realize this internship was anything, but normal. On the first day, I was given the username and password to all social media accounts. I was the new voice of Bearded Buch and it felt great. As time passed, I learned how to differentiate my own voice from that of the company’s. I was no longer a 21-year-old girl, rambling about nonsense in less than 140 characters. Instead, I was an educated professional responding to complaints and suggestions from consumers. I didn’t always know what I was doing and there were times when I had to ask questions, but that’s when I learned the most.

I learned how to speak up and share my ideas. I learned how to give and take constructive criticism. I learned how to be professional in every sense of the word. But most importantly, I learned what is and isn’t interesting to me within the field of public relations, and that feels good.

If I can give any piece of advice to others, it would be to take chances. Be ambitious in your search. Don’t settle. Take yourself seriously. You’re just as important as the person sitting in the cubicle next to you. Ask questions, offer ideas and be passionate about your work.

Within the past four months, I learned all of these important lessons and I look forward to applying them to my life in the future.

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Libby Bradford is a senior Strategic Communication major. She is also the VP of Member Relations for Scripps PRSSA. Look out for her friendly face at the first PRSSA meeting of this school year and follow her on Twitter @LibbyBradford.

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