The following blog is written by Michael Campagna, Elevate’s Summer Brand Intern and recent Georgia College & State University graduate.
Internships have the potential to be life changing.
That’s something I hadn’t considered until starting an internship with Elevate. For me, an internship was a final credit, a final barrier, between college and the rest of my life.
With so many of us going through the same stage of life, I have found that most interns have several things in common.
Each group has so much to offer. Every intern group is unique and has its own strengths. Specifically at Elevate, the intern team I was a part of offered countless laughs and a wide-ranging, diverse skillset.
No one has the next five years planned out in detail, let alone the rest of their life. So if you haven’t gotten that far yet, you’re not alone. And if you have…it’s probably going to change, at least a little bit.
Most people feel a certain level of uncertainty, especially at the beginning.
Many times, this one is inevitable, and for me was the most difficult thing to overcome before my internship started. Like most things in life, a new phase brings a lot of uncertainty and doubt.
With any number of different voices telling us what type of internship to get, where to work, and what to do, it is no wonder that we manage to overthink these things every way possible. We wonder if we will be good enough and even start to second guess the skills we know we have.
An Elevate internship is unique in so many ways, and while there’s no way to know all that it will entail, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the absolute most of the experience.
Try Something New
With bravery as one of the key values, Elevate prides itself on getting the staff outside of their comfort zones. For me, this process of pushing myself started before I even got to Elevate. I felt unqualified coming into the summer and really had no idea what to expect on my first day. From there, my summer was full of moments that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. From learning how to operate a camera, interacting with clients, and leading a station during an event, I was pushed a lot.
Looking back, I can genuinely say that although being outside of my comfort zone wasn’t always fun, it was ALWAYS rewarding.
And good news, you’re not expected to be perfect.
There is usually a certain level of hesitation that new team members face before jumping in and trying new things, and I think this is especially true for interns. I experienced it and can definitely say that I wish I had fully dove in earlier.
So if you need permission, here it is. The sooner you get past that, the sooner you will be able to make the most of the intern experience.
Everyone Wants You to Succeed
Jumping into the experience is made all the more easy with a staff that genuinely cares about your success.
In the past, I have worked in environments where seasoned employees resent the new guys. After all, you have to train them, wait for them to learn, and if you’re feeling really generous, take the time to get to know them too. Workplaces that only give responsibility to those with seniority rarely work in favor of new staff, especially those, like interns, who are only there for a short period of time.
Thankfully, Elevate could not be more different. From the very first day on the job, you are an integral part of the Elevate team. So much so that you will be asked your opinion, sought for help, and signed up to work events. This summer I was continually blown away by the level of trust shown to me from the very beginning.
This is because every team member understands that your success is their success and vice versa. Every small victory for a team member (or client) is a victory for the team as a whole.
So by all means, ask questions, get to know the team, and be confident in your role. Everyone is cheering you on!
Prepare for the Future, but Enjoy the Moment
Needless to say, an internship with Elevate is far from the typical internship experience. However, internships in general can often feel like a weird in-between phase of life. Having just finished college, an internship was somewhat of a segue between two different stages of life for me. And, being a temporary position, it was easy to think that I should be focusing more on what comes next. After all, the future is coming fast and there’s a lot to think about.
Looking back on my experience though, I can confidently say that I have never learned so much in such a short period of time. With so many resources at your disposal, I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer after college.
The theme of my summer was definitely rediscovering a love for learning. Being able to learn important skills, use them on projects, and then implement them to help the company, made me even more excited to try new things. There is genuinely no better time to learn a new skill than during this internship because the staff is so knowledgeable.
Always learn to appreciate the beauty in learning something new. Ten years from now, you could be an expert at that thing that is causing you so much stress to learn right now. So soak in the moment and don’t let the appreciation for learning something new get washed out by a need for perfection. No one is expecting that from you.
While thinking ahead is good, a preoccupation with the future takes away from success and enjoyment in the here and now. By diving into my internship experience, I discovered possibilities for the future that I never expected, skills I never thought I would develop, and opportunities I never thought I would have.
So yes, an internship can be life changing.
I encourage you to lean into this new experience, learn as much as you can, and most importantly, never forget to celebrate the confetti moments.
Trust me, there will be plenty of those to go around.