As an incoming intern and soon-to-be college senior, I figured I had a pretty solid understanding of what would be expected of me regarding public relations when I joined the team at 8THIRTYFOUR. I’d taken enough classes and listened to enough speakers to get the gist of the industry—and I was excited! Right away, lessons were learned, and I feel compelled to share my observations as a PR Newbie (a term I’ll proudly claim).
It’s All About the Timing
I’m pretty sure everyone ever knows that time management is crucial for success. As professionals, we’re no strangers to Google Calendar, weekly planners, and sticky notes. My first lesson in the “real world” was all to do with my lack of really understanding what time means for a 9–5.
I came into this internship with a homework mindset—I’d have a list of tasks and complete them when I saw fit (by a deadline, of course). Sometimes my brain isn’t in the space for writing or making social media posts when audience research is more appealing. However, I quickly realized that when working in an agency, there is no time to wait for the “right moment,” deadlines are always on the horizon.
Time blocks and lists have become my BFF, and I feel more productive when I follow a schedule versus jumping from project to project with no clear direction. Sure, homework can be done on your own time; but, I find that chugging away on my work straight through is helpful (and part of the gig of adulting).
Who Didn’t Fill Me In On This Research Thing?
Okay—I always knew that research was vital for PR pros, but before I began interning, I really didn’t have a strong grasp on how much research was necessary. I’ve learned that there can never be too much information and that having a background on a subject truly is helpful.
I wasn’t expecting to become an expert on so many things, but that’s one of the perks of agency life and creating meaningful work for a variety of clients. Not only am I helping my team construct an educated plan, but I’m growing my own knowledge in the process.
Confidence Stemming From the Workplace
I remember strutting into our office on my first day nervous, excited, and dressed in stuffy business attire. My pointy black flats and “blouse” were what I thought a PR intern would wear, and I was quick to catch on that there wasn’t a mold for me to fit into. I had the freedom to ask questions, be excited, and wear clothes that didn’t come from JCPenney’s business section.
Perhaps this is just an 8THIRTYFOUR thing of being accepting and finding comfort in the uncomfortable, but I just knew that I was about to embark on an adventure full of lessons and pure fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to be surrounded by dogs and sarcasm at work?
I’m still taking notes in meetings and spending free moments on Muck Rack, so stay tuned for my part 2 on observations in the PR world. For now, I’ll be spending my time managed to the extreme, probably researching, and learning directly from the best of the best.