Life Lessons Outside the Classroom
This fall, I was given the opportunity to intern with one of the most respected marketing agencies in the South Bend area. The reputation of this agency’s work convinced me to turn down other internship offers for a chance to learn from this group of talented professionals.
Villing & Company has allowed me to observe and participate in many aspects of the marketing/public relations field. This agency has given me the opportunity to take the skills and techniques I have been learning the past three and-a-half years and apply them to real business situations. I have watched ideas turn into reality through website designs, press releases, media kits, focus groups, and event planning.
Aside from the traditional experience most interns learn in any internship, Villing has also helped to give me a better understanding of who I want to be in the PR world.
Most soon-to-be college graduates know that they will not have the luxury of picking and choosing the organization they will work for after they graduate. The most we can hope for is to find an organization that matches our own individual values in some way. The least we can hope for is to find an organization that is willing to take a chance on us regardless of our values.
On the surface, this concept seems pretty cut and dry, either we apply to a certain organization or we don’t. It is up to us as individuals to make that decision. But what do we do when we apply to marketing agencies that represent multiple clients from a variety of different fields? We can’t possibly match all of our values to every client in the agency.
As students, we learn extensively about ethics, public interest, client interest, honesty, fairness, accuracy and so on, but not much information is taught on how to maintain our own personal convictions and moral beliefs in a profession that asks us to conform to become one with our clients.
This concept is difficult because one person’s values and passions that mean the world to them, may not seem important to the next person. My time at Villing has reinforced my personal convictions while at the same time has shown me how to handle situations I otherwise would have avoided. I have learned that in order to be the best PR practitioner for your clients, you have to be fair to yourself first. Use every opportunity given to you as a tool to learn something new, keep an open mind, and look for the good in everyone and every organization.
As I head into the career field, I know that I will come across situations that are going to challenge my personal values. However, I will confidently look back on this internship for guidance because Villing has helped me learn a life lesson that is not typically covered in the classroom: We all have something to contribute to this world; the trick is figuring how to go about it while maintaining who we are as individuals.
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