I know what people will ask me when I return home.
“How was your internship?”
I can only assume that people do not expect or have the time to hear full details about my internship experience with Mary Kay Inc., so I'll keep it to just a sentence or two.
For the rest of you wanting to hear full(er) details, taking the time to read what I have to say, here it is:
My internship with Mary Kay was far more than my initial expectations. As an Interactive Design and Public Relations dual major, I had hoped to leave my internship with stronger design skills, several finished graphics and 10 to 12 writing pieces, but my expectations were not met.
Because of my unique internship opportunity to work with the eBusiness department (which works to launch new web applications in Mary Kay's global markets), I had to work much harder to seek the opportunities to design and write. I am very thankful for my supervisor, Erika, because she was gracious enough to help me find those design and writing opportunities.
My professors at Waynesburg have taught me to network and always introduce myself and shake hands with professionals whenever possible. I acted on that challenge and took it another step further by opening that hand shake opportunity to all the other summer interns through iLunch.
iLunch was not in my internship description nor did anyone ask me to create it. I learned to take advantage of opportunities (namely working in a 13-floor building full of seasoned professionals), and it was great to see iLunch be so successful in connecting the interns with the professionals.
Working with the people at Mary Kay also gave me invaluable experience in working in a team and relying on others to yield a great product. I learned the balance in accomplishing goals while also being friends and coworkers able to make jokes. I also learned about the necessity for caffeine and candy around 2 o'clock. One meeting I attended started off by passing around a box of peanut M&M's, Twix, Reese's and other Mars and Hershey products. (Perhaps I will try starting all my future meetings by passing out candy...)
In the end, I'm thankful my original expectations were not met. I was able to use my PR and design knowledge, just in different ways than I had expected, and I learned a lot about the heavy amount of work that goes into launching new web apps in Kazakhstan, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland. (I also learned how to correctly spell “Kazakhstan.”) I was blessed with a great supervisor and coworkers, great opportunities and outstanding support for iLunch from both Mary Kay professionals and interns.
The greatest lesson I learned this summer was that my mom was right: you get out of it what you put into it. I could have been discouraged and resentful all summer because I was not working in Corporate Communications or Marketing utilizing my PR and design skills, but what would have been the benefit in a bad attitude? Had I chosen to play victim all summer instead of be a Mary Kay intern, I would have a missed so many other opportunities to learn.