As a society, we’re well past the times of interns serving as the office baristas, but internships still aren’t the same as actually working for a company. Nowadays college students expect to complete one menial task and twiddle our thumbs for the rest of the day—maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll even get paid for it! After all, we’re not really qualified for much more than that. What could someone possibly do on the first day of an internship that is remotely meaningful to the greater good of the firm?
Well, if you’re me, you write a blog post for a state-wide organization.
I laughed when my boss asked me to do it, but soon realized that he was serious. Luckily, the organization was dedicated to something I was interested in and knowledgeable about, but even as I was typing it up I couldn’t help but think that he was pulling a fast one on my first day. How could he trust an intern he barely knew to write a blog post that would potentially be seen by millions of people?
Before that day was over, my words were published and being shared all over Facebook. If this was only my first day and I was already doing something so important, I couldn’t even imagine what the end of my internship would bring. Now, here I am, at the end, and I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. Going in, I didn’t know what to expect. “Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy” . . .what do those words even mean?
As cliché as it sounds, I got so much more out of this internship than I expected. The thing that stood out most to me was Ceisler’s broad range of clients. Following the path paved by many young twenty-somethings before me, I was fairly directionless for someone graduating within 18 months. I knew what I wanted to do…sort of. Well, at the very least, I knew what I didn’t want to do. As tempting as it sounds, I knew that becoming a CEO wasn’t in the cards for me, so I’d never really considered working for any kind of corporation, big or small. Since I don’t study journalism or English, I was fairly certain that anything writing-wise was off the table, too. By the end of my third semester, I was sure that some type of government work would be my home for the next forty or so years.
Working for Ceisler opened my eyes to so many possibilities that were right in front of me. I interacted with organizations dedicated to governmental affairs, private companies with national representation, and every type of institution in between, doing things like writing blog posts or tweets, filming B-roll footage and even attending press events that made national news. I never realized how dynamic the skills I possessed were, but found myself able to work in all different kinds of environments—a realization that was pleasantly surprising, extremely relieving, and really got me thinking about the future.
The people I worked with were probably the best thing about Ceisler. Again, cliché as it may be, Ceisler feels like a family. Right off the bat, the Harrisburg team asked me about my interests, goals, hobbies and education and career path with sincere curiosity, and then included me on everything that they thought I’d like. They continued to stop in my office (yes—I got a whole office!) and chat about life and the ever-intriguing state of the government nearly every day.
All interns go to the Philadelphia headquarters office for a training day, and I was a little nervous to go because I didn’t think the Philly team would pay much attention to an intern they were never going to see again. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They welcomed me and didn’t hesitate to tell me how impressed they were with my resume and the blog post I wrote on my first day. They, too, were genuinely interested in my career goals and passions, and wanted to make sure I properly used my time with Ceisler. They encouraged me to always speak up about opportunities that interested me and to reach out if there was something they were doing that I wanted to be a part of. Several members of the team wanted to meet with me individually to find out how they could help me make the most of my internship, and one even gave me advice that drastically changed how I envisioned my immediate post-college career (for the better, of course). It almost felt like the firm was working for me rather than the other way around.
Although my time with Ceisler is coming to a close, I could not be more thankful for everything I learned here. It’s prepared me for things I never knew I needed, and it’s opened so many doors to possibilities I never knew existed. I’ve met many amazing and inspiring people during my time with Ceisler and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support, wisdom and guidance. Maybe I’ll return to Ceisler one day, but until then, I take my knowledge, experience and gratitude with me.
Learn more about Ceisler Media's internship program and how to apply, here.
Allison Ruman is a student at Penn State University. She interned in Ceisler Media's Harrisburg office over winter break.