How Internships Help College Students, Especially in the Covid Era
Internships are hard to come by during a typical summer. But with COVID-19, they became even more limited. Throughout the spring term, my friends and I discussed the numerous internships we had applied for had been canceled due to the virus. The summer internships that remained became even more competitive.
The value of internships has remained the same, if not more important. I am a rising senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in Journalism and Public Relations. I have loved my education and believe it has taught me a lot about the profession. However, I have learned more about public relations during my first month as an intern at Engage PR than I have in many of my classes.
An internship provides real-world experience that cannot be replicated in a classroom. In my PR classes at the University of Oregon, I’m often given fake scenarios or companies to write blog posts about, create media lists, or draft press releases. While this has helped me learn the ropes, there is nothing like working with real clients.
Working with Engage PR’s technology clients such as Kaloom, Telia Carrier, and Infinera has taught me the importance of research, communication, and understanding of the client’s needs. I’ve learned how much research goes into pitches, events, and speaking opportunities for the clients. I have discovered how good communication with the client and within the PR team is vital. Finally, I’ve learned from Engage PR’s founder, Jeannette Bitz, that serving the client’s needs is one of the most important things in public relations. Each of Engage PR’s clients has different needs, and for us to serve them as best as possible, we need to understand those needs.
I’ve also supported Engage PR’s social media sites, preparing content for the agency’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and Twitter handle. (If you’re not already doing so, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.) I have learned how to draft the content based on the platform and its audience. I’ve also learned how to track engagement and am proud to say that I’ve helped raise engagement by 147 percent.
My internship with Engage PR has solidified that I want to work in public relations after college. I’ve heard many stories of people who graduated and got a job in their particular field without having an internship prior, and not liking it at all. Having an internship before I graduate not only gives me more skills I can use in the remainder of my time at the University of Oregon but also lets me know that I am on the right path.
Overall, I think internships play a crucial role in the development of young professionals in any field. Without internships, college students are not able to grow in their work. While it may be an added investment for many companies, I believe the future of the industry depends on internships. This year has been unprecedented in so many ways, but there are still college students across the country eager to learn and work. In turn, they will grow as professionals, and the companies will benefit from new perspectives and hard work.
I’m excited for my remaining two months with Engage PR and am grateful for more opportunities to learn and grow myself.