Francesa Sands University of Michigan, 2017
This summer presented to me the unique opportunity to glimpse my future. I fell into a routine that easily could have been excerpted from my life five years from now. While maybe a life that shouldn’t yet be mine, my summer internship at Greenough gave me invaluable insight into a potential career.
My lack of knowledge surrounding public relations (coupled with the secondary need to build my resume) inspired my application for this internship, as well as my college major. Science, politics, medicine, and all the other fields made illustrious by brilliant thinkers somehow didn’t appeal to me—sorry, Mom and Dad. Often described as the “easy” route to a college degree, communications is commonly regarded with significant stereotype-ridden negativity. While maybe trends, especially at my school, these stereotypes are not indicative of the value of a communications degree. A lot of the material at the introductory level might be intuitive, but for those who take it seriously, however, it is no less of a doorway to a career than anything else. I resent the stereotypes; I think outsiders don’t really understand. Too often do I field the question—posed with snark—“What even is communications? Learning to communicate?” No, of course not. That’s what elementary foreign language is about. Actually, that’s what being a baby is about. Or “The Miracle Worker.” Communications is the act of performing complex and carefully articulated discourse (through a number of different media) to fulfill a particular end goal—one that has been thoroughly studied to prove its effectiveness in the best interest of a business. And further, you can customize a position by applying it to any desired industry. Every entity that could pass as a business uses communications functions. And without communications, where would all you business school-degree holding CEOs and your companies be? So you’re welcome.
Greenough is my first internship. So I had to learn the customs of the intern life while simultaneously trying to understand the intricacies of a public relations firm, which I gathered is a lot of catering to clients. It’s also a lot of diligence and attention to detail, a lot of writing and revising, and certainly a lot of doing behind-the-scenes work for people who get to take the credit. Maybe it takes a certain kind of sucker to work in public relations and complete numerous projects onto which someone else will subsequently slap his or her name. But it’s also exciting. And I learned by doing, which is the best way to learn. As an intern, I became familiarized with several different facets of a public relations firm. I wrote press releases, pulled together media lists, researched awards and nominated clients for them, and so much more. No two days were the same.
I can’t say I know where I want to end up in the future, but this internship afforded me the opportunity to pocket a broad variety of public relations skills. Not only did I gain extensive knowledge of public relations this summer, but I also gained real work experience to spruce up my resume and prepare me for future internships and jobs. Fortunately enough, I was offered this internship at a crucial time: the summer before I declare my major, and before I delve into more communications courses. The skills and general exposure to the industry that I acquired at Greenough have equipped me to make more informed decisions about my career path in the coming years. A public relations firm was a terrific first internship to acclimate me to the waters into which I am about to dive.
All things being equal, I got into Michigan just like those studying engineering. After this summer, I am even more prepared to fend off peers who challenge my studies. Besides learning the components of a public relations firm, I also learned what it takes to work 9-to-5 in an office most days of the week; how to be self-sufficient and take the initiative on projects; how to strategically plan lunchtime so that the time afterwards is the shorter half of the day; how to work productively; how to narrowly escape with your life at the Newton Corner Circle of Death; and perhaps most importantly, where the office candy is.