Written By: Jordyn Kerr, Marketing Communication Co-op
It seems like just yesterday that I was stepping through the doors of Intrinzic for my first day as a co-op, nervously introducing myself to everyone and completely unsure of what the semester would hold. A few months earlier, I was just a third year student at the University of Cincinnati (UC) looking for a new experience and some direction as to what career I’d like to pursue someday. Now, nearly five months later, I’m in disbelief that my co-op semester is almost over.
I must confess, this experience was not what I expected it to be. UC’s co-op program is similar to an internship, except that beginning in our second or third year of college, we rotate between semesters of coursework and semesters of full-time experiential learning in real world work environments. I’d previously spent a few co-ops (UC’s experiential learning program) in corporate work environments, and I came into the experience under the notion that I would be doing a lot of watching, rather than doing. But, I found that in Intrinzic’s creative agency environment, I was truly immersed in the work of our teams and challenged to complete tasks similar to those of an Account Manager. And each team member on both the account and creative sides were eager to teach me their field and help me learn.
Taking the leap from the corporate world to agency life, I swapped out my business suit for jeans and a t-shirt and jumped right into a fast-paced, ever-changing role. A couple of months and countless cups of coffee later, I’ve collected some go-to mantras to take with me in the future.
It’s easy to get swallowed up by the “I don’t know what I’m doing” mindset in the first couple of weeks of a new job. As a student especially, you become overcome with self-doubt and skeptical of your ability to accomplish tasks. While you may have taken courses in college, you’ve rarely been asked to actually apply them. This is where being an intern actually benefits you – you’re taking what you’ve learned and applying it in the real world. No one expects you to know everything, and it’s OK to ask questions. Actually, it’s encouraged! So before you fill yourself with unnecessary anxiety, take a step back, consider what is being asked of you and breathe.
####Take things one hour at a time
The saying often goes, “Take things one day at a time.” However, in the agency realm sometimes a day can be pretty intimidating. By splitting your day up hour by hour, you’re able to better focus your priorities and ease your level of stress. I’ve found that by making a list of my daily priorities and then breaking them down into smaller time periods, it’s easier to meet deadlines and not feel so overwhelmed by my workload.
####Pursue new experiences
Agency life presents countless opportunities to pursue new challenges and push yourself to new levels. Take hold of the opportunities to grow and explore new areas! Coming into this internship, I had never worked with copywriters, graphic designers or account managers. By working with all of Intrinzic’s team members and opening myself up to opportunities to learn from them, I was able to gain countless new skills that I never would have been exposed to otherwise.
####Work hard, play hard
A job isn’t all about the work – it’s about the people you work with and the type of company you work for. At Intrinzic, things operate under a “work hard, play hard” mentality. While our team is more hardworking than any other I’ve seen, they also know how to have a good time. Some of my favorite memories from this semester are the moments where the Intrinzic team made a point to have some fun and enjoy each other’s company, whether it be Friday afternoon gatherings on the patio or a group trip out to lunch.
####When life hands you lemons…
An internship is what you make it – you’ll get out of it what you put into it. If you go into the experience with an open mind and intent to learn, you’ll likely come out of it with better results than if you go into it just as a resume builder. Working at an agency as a student offers the unique opportunity to explore what excites you, and to learn about what you like and don’t like. Whether you come out of the semester having found your dream job or not, you are going to make major discoveries about your passions and talents and new ways to apply them.