Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lessons Learned From a C. Pharr & Co. Internship

Stepping foot into any office on the first day of work is always intimidating; first impressions are crucial and the night before my first day as the summer intern at C. Pharr & Co. consisted of me scrambling around my room until late, flinging clothes out of my closet in exasperation because nothing was "right." I wanted to make the best first impression possible because this was my first public relations internship and I knew it could lead to many opened doors for me in the future. Leaving the next morning with ample time to get there, a packed lunch and hopeful attitude, I embarked on the commute from Fort Worth to Dallas.

Arriving without any time to spare and I was welcomed into the cozy office with wide smiles and cheery hellos, I received a quick round of introductions and was led to my desk for the summer. I went over terms, phrases and example documents of what I would be doing and was shown how to media clip, an action I would become overly familiar with early on into the summer. Possessing a practically nonexistent knowledge of public relations besides a few terms remembered from the one class taken at SMU, I eagerly soaked in the new concepts and worked hard to strengthen these new skills. I grew comfortable entering the quiet office, sitting at my desk and working diligently all day until my time came to leave. At first, I was perplexed by how silent the office was all day; I'd imagined an office where people were constantly chattering. However, the silence suits the work attitude they all possess: efficient, time aware and hard working.

As I wrap up my last day at my first PR internship, I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to engage with such a knowledgeable team. I'd heard so many horror internship stories where all anyone did was scan, fax, and file papers, and I feared I too would be doing the same, but it couldn't have been more opposite. The hands on opportunities pushed me so far out of my comfort zone at the beginning, but I grew to love coming to work to see what I would learn. This internship has not only taught me about the many different aspects of a PR firm and how to do the behind-the-scenes work, but also countless important career advice. I sat down with all the women who work here and compiled a list of the most significant words of wisdom they had to share:
  • Be resourceful always
  • Never be above anything
  • Take an intro to business class so that you can understand their perspective
  • Learn about particular industries and become a "surface level expert"
  • Absorb as much as possible
  • Always keep up with the news
  • Be proactive
  • Keep in touch
Hearing advice from professionals who have been in my same position of "What am I going to do in one year?" is comforting. Their tidbits were beyond useful because they not only motivate me to keep working hard throughout my senior year, but also push me to strive for excellence in my work.

The next time I'm freaking out about my "first day" outfit and stressing about what everyone will think of me, I just need to remember that everyone has been there before. The women at C. Pharr & Co. have been supportive and eager to help me grow, and I know they wanted to provide me with an internship that would teach me lessons I would utilize later on, which I know I certainly will. 

This post was contributed by Molly O'Connor, CPC Summer Intern.


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