When I stepped through the doors into the cozy café-style office of Prestwick House last Monday, June 8, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was the first day of my first real internship, (I did an online one last summer, but that doesn’t count) kicking off my first ever summer living away from home. Prestwick House is a publishing company located in Smyrna, Delaware- about 40 minutes south of UD’s campus- that produces educational material for English teachers, such as vocabulary books and those books we all read in our high school English classes that include things like definitions in the margins and discussion questions in the back. I figured I’d be mostly proofreading and editing all summer, but in my four days there, I’ve learned more than just grammar.
So, what have I taken away from my first week at my first internship?
Dress for success.
Before my first day, I didn’t know what the environment at the office would be like. At my interview, I was so preoccupied with looking professional that I didn’t notice what the employees were actually wearing. Would people be dressing business casual, or was it acceptable to wear a pair of black jeans? I wanted to make a good first impression and I feared being the one underdressed and embarrassed, so I went for classic business casual. Turns out the dress is much more casual than I had thought; mostly everyone was wearing a nice top, jeans, and sandals. I really want to give into temptation and wear jeans everyday, but I think still dressing to impress past your first day shows that you take your internship, whether it’s unpaid or not, seriously. So while I probably will be wearing jeans once in awhile, I’m not putting away those dress pants and dresses yet.
Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism.
One major project I’ve worked on so far consisted of writing two sentences for each word in a vocabulary book about words from Latin and Greek roots, one sentence using the word correctly and one using it incorrectly. (Which is harder than it sounds!) We had to keep in mind that the book being published is meant for freshmen in high school, as well as being correct grammatically and using the word in the right context. I’ve always thought of myself as a good writer, so having all the flaws in the simple sentences I wrote pointed out was kind of a reality check, but I know it will be really helpful down the road both at my internship and hopefully in my career.
And most importantly….
Don’t be afraid to explore new paths that interest you.
This particular internship is targeted mostly towards English majors, which I am not. As a Communications major, I never really thought of paths outside of public relations, social media, or marketing. I always thought working for a magazine or book publishing company would be awesome, but was it plausible? Could I actually do it for a career? This internship has made me realize that people other than journalists really do edit and write for a profession, and I think it’s so neat! Plus, as an intern, I love that some of the exercises I help write could even be published. I’m not just doing English-related things either—I’m also helping out the marketing team with writing blogs for their website. Long story short, if there’s something you think sounds cool, look for opportunities in that field, even if it may not have to do directly with your major!
I’m looking forward to the rest of my summer as a #UDIntern, and honestly, I’m just excited that I finally have my own little cubicle.
Written By: Allison Knouse
Allison Knouse is a senior Mass Communications major with minors in journalism and advertising from Perkasie, Pennsylvania. She is an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America at UD, while also serving as the Vice President of Public Relations for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at UD and tweeting on her social media ambassador account, @BlueHenAllisonK. Feel free to follow her or connect with her on LinkedIn!