There are loads of good reasons why you should intern. It helps you build contacts in a professional network; it provides you with valuable industry work experience; it looks good on your resume; if you’re lucky, you can get paid; you can get class credit; you can build your resume. And these reasons make sense. You might have spent the first 19 years of your life dying to become a professional Purple-People-Eater breeder, and then you intern for a summer on a Purple-People-Eater farm and hate it. Never want to see a Purple-People-Eater again. Good thing you know before you invest your life savings into a farm.
But in all honesty, being a summer (or semester intern, for that matter) is a vitally important part of the college experience. It certainly was for me.
As I finished up my undergraduate career, I began searching for a full-time job position. But with the economy, interning in the field I want to work seemed like a great option. Rather than taking some time off to laze around the pool in between job applications, I decided that becoming the Marketing Intern at the Baltimore Collegetown Network would be a nice way for me gain useful skills and spend some time in a professional work environment. Plus, it would be fun.
As the marketing intern at BCN, I was responsible for a wide array of different things, from handling website maintenance to going to campuses to speak directly with incoming students about what services the Collegetown Network can offer them. I even helped to give a bus tour of Baltimore to a group of incoming freshmen’s parents. I would never have thought to send my parents on a bus tour of Baltimore.
Probably one of the coolest opportunities I had at Collegetown was when we attended the unveiling of the new Charm City Circulator. The fact that the city was showing its new bus line for the first time was exciting enough: the bus was all new and shiny, and had that “new car smell” (I actually blogged about this earlier in the summer). Adding to the cool factor was seeing Mayor Dixon holding the press conference in person. As a former editor on my college newspaper, I loved seeing the T.V. crews and reporters conducting interviews. I was very tempted to grab a notepad and start following around the cameraman myself. A second really cool meeting that I attended was the BACVA Town Hall meeting (BACVA is the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitor’s Association, which is essentially the tourism organization). Turns out, tourism is one of Baltimore’s biggest industries. After hearing Mayor Dixon give a very dynamic speech, there were some awards and then a surprise announcement: BACVA will now be called “Visit Baltimore.” The event was a great opportunity to network and get to know other people at local Baltimore businesses.
We also had our Downtown 101 event, with the Downtown Partnership. This event was a great opportunity to collaborate with another group working within Baltimore and to meet other young professionals in the area.
I also manned our table at one of Goucher’s orientation open houses. That was a nice opportunity to tell both students and their parents about the different activities that Baltimore has to offer (other than merely the aquarium). Many people aren’t aware of the vast number of things to do in Baltimore on any given day. If you know the right places to look, there is no reason to ever be bored in Baltimore.
Interning this summer was a great experience. I was able (on more than one occasion) to apply a fair amount of what I learned in my business classes while doing completing my marketing duties, such as reading an analytics dashboard or creating a media kit for inquires. I also shadowed BCN’s executive director, Kristen Campbell, to a couple of meetings. It was interesting to attend these meetings and watch how different organizations make their decisions and conduct their daily tasks.
Plus, I’ve meet a lot of new people that I would not have met if I stayed solely in my “Hopkins bubble.” Luckily, the College of Notre Dame (where BCN has its offices) has a lot of young employees and with them I was able to go to new places and events in Baltimore I would not have known about otherwise (like the Beer Flight I blogged about earlier).
Overall, it was a very interesting and productive summer. Granted, with most internships they are what you make of them. I tried to make the most of my experience with the Baltimore Collegetown Network by making suggestions for new ways to do things, asking questions about why certain things work the way they do, and taking every opportunity to expand my skill base.
Hope you all have a great fall! Maybe one of you all will be writing here next!
Many more adventures to come.