“What is…” Wednesday – What’s it like to be an intern? Rachel’s Take

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“What is it like to be an intern?”

For me, before I started my internship here at HMA Public Relations, multiple stereotypes and questions came to mind when I heard the term “intern.”  Visuals of crazed college students striving to earn brownie points with their employers, making mad-dash trips to Starbucks for co-workers and pretending to know much, much more then they in reality do.  Yes, this is how I viewed the life of an intern before I joined the HMA Public Relations team here in Phoenix.

Yet, one intern stereotype remains true for me…  Yes indeed, I am one of THOSE students that rushed at the opportunity to delve into my field as a summer intern as soon as I could- being a firm believer that one only completely understands something when they practice it and grow.  Ergo, I was determined to know all I could before working in the professional world of public relations, and I was not about to stop until I found the perfect internship experience- even if it meant having to fulfill some of those sad stereotypes I had constructed in my naïve mind.

Now, having completed a couples weeks here at HMA, I realize that those stereotypes I had were either from a faint memory of a semi-depressing film OR a colleagues’ rare, poor experience at a not-so-fabulous agency.  During the short course of being an intern at this professional agency, I have seen that:

-You are, and should be treated as an adult, even though this is a learning process.

-Asking questions is certainly NOT frowned upon, in fact, EVERYONE in the office asks questions! I know, shocking, right?

-In the wise words of Stephanie Lough: “Your computer is your best friend, so nurture it”-even if it drives you to the reaches of frustration.

-You must have Facebook and Twitter open all day and you DO NOT get ridiculed for it.

-Time management is crucial (and is not always easily practiced in this kid’s life 🙂

And most importantly …

-You get to decide when you eat lunch!!

Although this list is simple and in good fun, it is true and the creative possibilities are endless!  Through the jobs I have had over the past several years, I have experienced: retail, hospitality, food service, happy people, angry people, triumph and struggle.  And every time, my presumptions about the experiences are as distant as I can imagine.  However, this internship is proving to be the farthest from my preconceived notions and worries and I am so grateful that it is.  Although job positions/internships may present other, unforeseen obstacles and subtleties along the way, you are always more equipped than you may realize.  Determination, my friends, is the key to success.

So before I say adieu for today, I recommend all aspiring professionals to get out there and achieve experience however possible and however clichéd, you never know what you will learn about your chosen field-stereotypes aside of course!  I am truly honored to be the HMA intern this summer and I cannot wait to practice and grow in the wonderful field that is public relations.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio


  1. Stephanie Lough says:

    Hey if you want to do some coffee runs I’m sure it can be arranged.

  2. Rachel – glad to have you on the HMA team this summer. Iced coffee w/soy please!

  3. 110 degrees in Phoenix for the summer… 85 degrees in Flagstaff for the summer… Glad to have you on the team for a couple of months before the NAU fall semester takes you back up the hill!

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