Guest article by P2W major Sierra Jezuit.
Growing up, I always thought being an ‘intern’ would be frustrating. Interns in movies and television shows were always portrayed as overworked, underpaid and perpetually tired. It made me think of internships as overrated. However, after starting at Michigan State and finding my passion for the Professional and Public Writing (P2W) major, I heard completing an internship while I was in college was highly encouraged for the field. Upon learning that, I was worried I’ve had a bad experience. Thankfully, I found the P2W Outreach and Recruitment internship this past fall, which has proved me very wrong.
In this role I create materials and manage projects that promote the major and connect with the P2W community. I collaborate with my amazing boss in order to brainstorm and create materials and strategies that will benefit the major and its students, alumni and faculty. Instead of being overworked and underappreciated, I’m encouraged to be creative and innovative.
I get to work through projects that pertain to topics I care about. Lately, my work has focused on building a social media presence for the P2W major, which has been a really rewarding learning experience (follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!). Part of this effort has included researching various other social media accounts and brands, many of which are for other university writing-related programs. In my research, I look at how accounts engage with their audience, how they talk to and about students and how they utilize visual content. Having that information to review has helped me develop a content strategy to use when operating on social media.
As there are a lot of tasks to complete to successfully run and manage social media accounts on various platforms, my days don’t always look the same. One day might be spent creating visual content, while the next may include interviewing alumni for future content. Though each day may look slightly different, my mornings usually start off like this:
-Start the day off by drinking a big cup of coffee and checking my to-do list. I like to visually picture what I need to accomplish for the day, and using a list format allows me to prioritize my tasks as I go. I tend to keep my lists on my computer desktop so I can access them at any point throughout the day. Learning to use these lists to help with my time management has been a great ongoing process.
-Head to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to check out P2W’s social media accounts. I look for new likes, comments or followers, engage with other accounts related to Michigan State, and repost and share content that might interest the P2W community. Social media allows me to connect and engage with many others in the P2W community, while promoting various resources and information about the major. Being able to connect with professors, students in my classes and even alumni has been a really great experience, and has helped me do some great networking.
As the afternoon approaches, I move to looking at our social media posting schedule to see if content needs to be moved around or created.
-Next I check out our social media posting schedule, to make sure our content is appropriately scheduled and to see what content needs to be created next. Using a schedule is really important for productivity, and it also helps me stay organized. I use the Later platform in order to schedule posts, which has been a really great learning experience. I hadn’t had any previous experience with social media management systems, so getting the chance to play around with and learn Later was both fun and helpful.
-If new content is needed, I head over to Canva and Adobe Illustrator to begin brainstorming new designs. I think through spatial arrangement, font and color usage, and overall visual appeal. I spend a lot of time debating what design choices I like best, but even if I spend a lot of time on one post I never feel worn out. Also, the content I create can be included in my professional portfolio and helps showcase my practical design experience.
To finish off my days, I usually move back to monitoring the social media accounts for new likes or engagement with content.
-After designing some drafts, I check back on social media for any new updates. Then I address any additional projects and create and manage the necessary materials. We currently have a lot of great content lined up to come out soon, so I’m extremely excited to get to share it with the P2W community.
-Once I’ve managed to complete (most of) my to-do list, I log off for the day, usually feeling accomplished and proud of what I’ve managed to get done.
After I finish each day of my internship, I think about how different this experience has been from what I originally imagined. I’m not underappreciated, overworked or tired. Instead, I’m excited to start each day and get to work on social media, connect with the P2W community, and build up my professional portfolio. I know not to be intimidated by the term “internship,” and am grateful to be the P2W Outreach and Recruitment Intern.