By: Melissa Gohde
You made it through the tough part: getting the internship. Starting out is always exciting! An opportunity to network with professionals in the industry, learn all about the company you’re interning for, begin new projects, start to build your resume, and gain experience in a field you are passionate about. These are all vital to success in your internship. But what else can you gain from an internship experience?
As I wind down my third internship experience, I can say without hesitation that building strong bonds inside and outside of the workplace with your fellow interns is a key element of any successful internship experience. During my first two internships at sports training facilities in the Chicago area, I was the only intern for the entire summer. Although I gained valuable experience on what it takes to market and manage sports facilities, I was not able to form connections with other interns that will soon be professionals in the same field.
Currently, I am interning for the Indiana University Athletics Marketing Department. I started during the summer of 2012, and I will finish my internship officially in May of this year when I graduate. This was my first opportunity to intern alongside fellow students and create friendships throughout the year. Many of the same people that interned during the summer decided to continue the internship throughout the academic year as well. By working in the office for about six hours per week along with working various athletic events each month, I ended up spending countless hours with my fellow interns and creating bonds that will last well into the future.
During the internship with the IU Athletics Marketing Department, all interns were expected to attend office hours weekly to gather ideas on different marketing tactics for various athletic events, prepare promotions for game days, and maintain a strong, positive brand image for IU Athletics as a whole. Working with peers allowed us to feed off of each other and think of fresh, innovative ideas together. Beyond the office setting, we were expected to work at the marketing table at various athletic events as well as on the court or field for IU basketball and football games. This gave the interns a chance to apply what we worked on in the office and see firsthand what it takes to put on any Big Ten athletic event, such as Hoosier Hysteria or IU basketball ESPN College Game Day versus Michigan earlier this month.
Even when we were not working together, the interns became very close. We planned one or two outings a month together outside of the office or athletic events. One of the best ideas we thought of was having a holiday dinner party to watch the IU Men’s Soccer Championship. We all dressed up in our “ugliest” holiday sweaters, ordered pizza, and made different desserts. We even organized a “Secret Santa” gift exchange, where everyone bought a small, hilarious gift to give to another intern. It was fun to get together outside of work, dress up in silly outfits, eat great food, and cheer on the IU Men’s soccer team together.
New friendships are not the only thing to gain from creating relationships with other interns. Most likely, many of these people have similar interests and career goals as you. They will be the professionals of tomorrow that will be essential to your future job searches and professional career moves. They might be that connection that gets your foot in the door at the job of your dreams down the road.
After an entire year together, I can honestly say this group of people became some of my close friends, and I will maintain relationships with them after the internship ends in May. We all bonded instantly because of our similar experiences and interests, and I am lucky to surround myself with such a great group of people. Although all of our futures are uncertain, I know we will be there to support each other professionally post-graduation whether that be in the form of a reference or potentially an internal referral for a possible job. It is a great feeling having a group of peers in your field that are willing to help you succeed.
Melissa Gohde is a senior in the Sport Communication program at Indiana University. She has interned with IU Athletics in the Marketing Dept. for the last year. After graduation she aspires to work in the sport marketing industry in the areas of social media and event planning.
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