Bahja Norwood, Intern
I took a PR class in my undergrad but I was so not ready for what WE Buchan had planned for me: media releases, social listening, media pitches, coverage analysis, brand research, being an intern…even the terminology was new. I entered ‘a whole new world’ sans the flying carpet.
It was fast-paced and dynamic; I barely had time to process anything I heard before I had to engage with the various teams on several projects.
Their names, had not memorized their names yet, but they knew mine, and I was already working with them!
I kept a notebook and a planner pad on my desk to help me a) keep track of what I had to work on each day and week, and b) remember everything I did each day so I could process it at a later date.
At first I was shy and hardly spoke (learning 10+ names in three minutes is intense), but everyone welcomed me warmly and treated me as one of the team. It’s always weird going to intern at a new firm because you’re never sure if you’re going to be treated as the ‘intern’, or a colleague. I’m grateful I was treated like the latter.
I’m going to go back to the first day of my internship because that was the day I looked like Mr. Krabs here:
On top of the new names, and the fact that they all knew mine, there was so much terminology in my first WIP (work in progress meeting) that I gave up trying to act as if I knew what my team was talking about and started taking notes. Later that day I sat down with them to define each term. I only knew faces at this point and so when one of them walked up to me to give me a task I used ‘context clues’ (checking group emails and guessing who’s who) to remember who to call out when I finished my work.
After the first day I was slowly naturalized into the office with ‘asks’ awaiting my inbox with their respective deadlines. Sometimes I was able to work on projects from the beginning to learn about the strategy and planning phases of a campaign, or client pitch, while others were nearing completion and I was learning different skills to write media pitches or press releases. It was a pretty full-on internship!
I was also doing a lot of hands-on work that I had to balance throughout the day to give each project a certain amount of time. This internship took my time management skills to the next level and after just graduating uni this is the best time to learn these skills. Another key thing I learned was that writing things down keeps them out of your head, so you can focus more on the task at hand.
I did do some ‘intern’ things though: staple press releases, grab items for an event, and deliver phones. However, I didn’t mind because I was helping with a major event and I was able to get some fresh air.
My time here went by very quickly and time that goes by the fastest tends to be time you’ve enjoyed the most. I dabbled and helped with many of the teams in the office and learned about the different sectors of PR. I learned so much from the team and I will miss them dearly, but from this internship, I’ve learned more about myself and the PR industry overall.
In reflection, I’m pretty sure that PR class I took came in handy, but I was just so busy I barely had time to process it. I still feel like Mr. Krabs though…