Debunking Internship Myths: A Letter to College Seniors

Dear College Seniors,

With graduation around the corner, it’s hard not to think about what your life will be like once you walk across that stage. Will you be joining the masses in the morning commute, or stocking up on internship attire? Regardless of what you decide, I’m here to tell you not all post-grad experiences include getting coffee – with the right mindset, you can find an internship that does it a better way.

As you begin to take baby steps into the “real world,” you may question whether the past four years have actually prepared you for what’s ahead. Try not to drive yourself crazy with the “what ifs” and “what nows.” After all, our parents always told us no one likes their first job out of college anyway, right?

Take it from me. As a public relations major, I was told all internships are the same: you start at the bottom and work your way up – from copies to copywriting. Most experiences keep interns heavily managed and sectioned off, separated from many of the high priority projects.

And while this may be the path some interns willingly take, I was determined to find an exception to the rule.

So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am here to debunk the myth that not all internships are watching instead of doing. I found an agency where interns are encouraged to participate, not simply observe; where you are treated as a team member instead of a temporary employee; and where your voice can be heard out loud, not in your notes.

Embracing its “no titles culture,” Jackson Spalding provided me with the same opportunities as any other JSer. In my 10 short weeks in the Dallas office, I was tasked with writing for a consumer-facing blog, pitching top-tier media outlets and even organizing a local influencer relations event – all while learning way more about beds and batteries than I care to admit. (Hey, Mattress Firm and Interstate Batteries!)

Not only was I surprised by the amount of work I was given but also the amount of trust I received. As an intern, I quickly realized that JS is more than just a great place to work; it is a place to grow.

With that in mind, I encourage you to find an internship that challenges you to learn. Look for an environment that helps you become comfortable outside of your comfort zone. It’s always better to give it a shot than to watch from the sidelines. Strive to find a place that supports your development and wants to make you your best. Finally, seek a company culture that feels like home. It may not be the perfect fit the first time around, but loving your job is possible, trust me.

So, as you take your first step and hit “submit” on your application, know we have all been there – anxious, stressed and uncertain. Although it may be weird to think of yourself working nine to five, the “real world” isn’t as scary as it sounds.

From someone who was just in your shoes,

Former Jackson Spalding Dallas Intern, Current JSer