Reflection: The Importance of Internships in College

I’m Amelia Benesky, a freshman at NC State University studying communications with a public relations concentration. My first semester at NC State has been nothing short of exciting, including the opportunity to intern with E&V Strategic Communications. Experience is some of the best education, and I’m grateful to learn from a team committed to including interns on their projects, to pass on relevant industry knowledge, and to aid in professional development.

While participating in this internship, I’ve been able to directly apply my coursework at NC State to my work at E&V. Some of my day-to-day tasks include compiling media lists, crafting pitches, executing research projects, and monitoring the media to assist in the bigger picture of helping clients solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. Performing these tasks has enhanced my understanding of what a PR practitioner’s work looks like, which translates to a greater understanding of my Introduction to Public Relations coursework this semester.

When considering a future profession, it’s important for students to not only be aware of the workstreams in that profession, but also the atmosphere of a typical workplace. In my future career, I want to ensure a work-life balance and a lifestyle that I thrive in. E&V’s hybrid structure is one thing that attracted me to the agency. As a full-time student, I’m unable to commute every day, so I’m online, working remotely three days a week. Over my fall break, I had the privilege of spending a day in the office, which was a great opportunity to collaborate and interact with my colleagues face-to-face. This flexibility enables me to perform well in my studies and be involved on campus in extracurriculars, such as PRSSA.

Choosing E&V was a no-brainer for me. As an agency with a wide variety of client accounts, E&V provides a great environment for students in this field to learn. Interning at agencies has helped me to better differentiate what accounts I work best on. Through assisting on multiple accounts in a variety of industries, I’ve realized that I hope to pursue a career in communications focused on the interior design, hospitality, and/or lifestyle industries. Working at an agency, you can work across multiple projects as opposed to being tied down to one at a time. Personally, this style of work suits me – I am most fulfilled and attentive when bouncing from project to project and communicating with various team members every day.

At E&V, it’s not just about the work; it’s about growth. The internship program here includes multiple professional development sessions which teach us a multitude of applicable skills both for a career in strategic communications and for the workforce in general. My favorite professional development session thus far covered crisis communications with one of E&V’s founding partners, Harris Vaughan. In my PR classes at NC State, we discuss crisis communications heavily, so hearing a professional in the field talk about his prior experiences provided a valuable real-world perspective for me as a student. Through these sessions, we learn from various practitioners throughout the agency and get to know more of the team, which helps us put faces to names when different employees assign us projects.

All in all, I have found internships extremely beneficial in solidifying the career path I hope to take. With each internship, I learn new skills I can carry with me no matter the workplace, including learning how to operate in a professional environment, work on a team, compile conference reports, and communicate with co-workers. Participating in this internship alongside learning from my professors has been a great way to extend my education beyond the classroom. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from such a talented team and hope you get to as well!