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Solidifying Interests Through Internships

Sarah Smith currently interns with
Sarah Smith currently interns with a full-service communications firm in Cary.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences encourages students to participate in internships that help them explore career options and acquire real-world experiences. In this Q & A, a student demonstrates the power of proactive research in acquiring internships, and shares how her internships are giving her new skills, knowledge and insights.

Sarah Smith is a junior majoring in Communication. She has held editorial and writing positions at NC State’s student paper, Technician, and provides Spanish tutoring and interpreting services. Her three internships have taken place in Summer 2014, Summer-Fall 2014, and Spring 2015.

How did you locate your internships?

For my first internship at AMEXCAN (Association of Mexicans in North Carolina), I was given the contact information for the head of the organization and I sent him an email detailing my interest and explaining my relevant work experience at Technician. For LiveItUp! Hillsborough Street, I found the application online through personal research and applied. For my internship at MMI (a full-service communications firm in Cary, NC), I sent a cover letter and resume to the company, and asked if they were currently accepting interns.

Describe the internships.

During my internship at LiveItUp!, I spent twelve hours a week at the office working on different design and communication projects. For AMEXCAN, I met with my adviser twice a month and discussed projects that needed to be completed. Outside our meetings, we communicated through daily e-mails and phone calls. With MMI, I spend twelve hours a week at the office completing different tasks and assisting the senior account executive with her projects.

How do you feel the internships relate to your major, career goals, and personal interests?

I have tried internships in different areas, which I believe is the best way to narrow down what you want to do while developing your skills. My graphic design internship with LiveItUp! was primarily to develop my graphic design skills and push myself creatively. At AMEXCAN, I had the opportunity to develop my Spanish skills while working on different communication projects. MMI allows me to dive deeper into the work of public relations.

What did you learn?

I think the most significant thing I have taken away from my internships is confidence in my work. I am now more self-assured of my abilities and skill sets. This confidence allows me to take greater risks and pursue tougher challenges. I am more comfortable with being in a work setting and speaking with professionals.

What were some of the challenges?

Time management has always been my greatest challenge. It can be incredibly hard to juggle extracurriculars, internships, class work, and working to support myself, while still trying to enjoy the college experience. In the end, you have to make sacrifices, but this also has allowed me to figure out what is most important to me.

What were some of the rewards?

I have met so many interesting and wonderful people, and have found a lot of inspiration through them.