National Intern Day: diving head first into a world of possibilities

July 25, 2019

It was 8:30pm EST on a Wednesday when I got the call from Human Resources informing me that I was chosen to be a Ketchum Summer Fellow. The months that followed this incredible news were probably the fastest of my life. Before I knew it, I was a graduate of The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) and I was driving a packed car down to Atlanta for a new adventure. Did I know what to expect? Not at all. Was I overwhelmed by the thought of the nine lane highways I was about to become acquainted with in Atlanta? Sure was. Was I prepared to dive in head first anyways? Absolutely.

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Just as high school prepares us for college and college prepares us for the real world, working as a Fellow at Ketchum is preparing me for a lifelong career that I can already tell I’m going to love. The opportunity to come into the office and create ideas that take amazing brands to new heights is bigger than me and you. It’s bigger than all of us. While considering what I was looking for in my first “real world” experience, I knew right away I wanted something that would take public relations as I know it and enhance that by a thousand. I can tell you that this past month has done just that – what I thought I knew has been turned upside down and flipped around in all the best ways.

Being an emerging young professional is a whirlwind feeling of fear and excitement mixed with wanting to work so hard and learn so much that you sometimes forget what day it is. Everyone who has ever been an intern knows what I mean. But the thing is, internships aren’t the “bottom of the totem pole” like they’re sometimes labeled. They’re the first step that we take to immerse ourselves in the wins and losses of the working world. It’s a true teaching moment – although I’m not sure I’ll ever fully learn how to master Excel. But I digress.

While I’m endlessly appreciative of the lessons I’ve learned and will continue to learn here at Ketchum, my favorite moments as an intern are the ones that have been unplanned. The email chains with GIF’s and jokes that make everyone laugh, or the inspiration that finally pushes you past the writer’s block (And, yes, I totally had writer’s block at one point during the composition of this blog post). These are the times when I generally stop and realize that everyone around me is human too, and not everything can be perfect.

Overall, it’s pretty neat that a day is dedicated to breaking the stereotypes of how internship programs are seemingly portrayed in our society. Us interns work super hard, and we’re also super lucky. We’re the product of everyone who takes the time to invest in us coupled with our own personal revelations and inspirations along the way. And you know what? Nobody’s ever even made me go get them coffee or organize a messy filing cabinet like they do on TV. Happy National Intern Day, team!

Alyssa (Aly) DeShields is from Pittsburgh, PA and works as a Summer Retail Fellow based in Ketchum’s Atlanta office. A recent graduate of The Ohio State University, Aly discovered her passion for public relations through coursework and internships.  If she’s not at her desk drafting media watches or writing briefs for a client, she’s probably somewhere in the city taking pictures of food she’s about to eat, scrolling through Twitter, or watching reality television.