Three Key Takeaways from My SPR Internship
By Hailey Cunningham
Being halfway through my junior year as an Integrated Marketing Communications major at Ole Miss, I am now closer to the finish line than I am the starting line. This is both completely nerve-wracking and exciting. As I deal with these mixed emotions, I am comforted by the fact that I have new experiences and skills under my belt to give me an advantage when the “real world” hits me. Which, at the end of the day, is all thanks to Sheridan Public Relations for taking a chance on me.
When I arrived at SPR back in June 2018, I had no earthly idea what to expect. I had never worked professionally in public relations before. Would I be given banal or laborious tasks? Would I be running errands for clients? Or would I be practicing in real life what I had learned from my college classes? In a way, I ended up doing some sort of combination of all of the above. The good thing is, I was happy to do it all and more. My internship experience has been more fulfilling than I ever could have asked for. SPR was the perfect place to dip my toes into the world of public relations.
SPR trusted me with hands-on responsibilities. Even though I was technically at the bottom of the totem pole, I was not treated like it. Every day I was given meaningful tasks and projects that were my duty to complete. It is truly so gratifying to see your work come to life, such as having an Instagram post I drafted for Puckett’s Grocery pop up on my feed, or seeing Mercy’s Franklin Classic executed successfully after I spent weeks helping to promote it.
I am walking away from my internship with an overabundance of new skills and intelligence, both professional and interpersonal. I am very sad to be leaving this wildly creative and kind group of people, but I am certainly not leaving empty-handed. As I wish farewell, I would like to share a few key takeaways from my time as an SPR intern.
1. Take initiative.
Be a go-getter! Express your ideas and make it happen. When people see that you are assertive and confident, they will give you more complex and meaningful tasks. After all, the whole reason why they hire interns in the first place is to get a fresh take from the newest members of the public relations world. If I hadn’t thought outside of the box when brainstorming donors for the Connectus Back-to-School Bash, it might not have received as much press as it did or attracted as many attendees. It is the little things, such as offering to help with drafting social media posts, that show how much you care about growing professionally.
2. Think as a team member, not an employee.
A public relations firm is a collaborative group of people who work together to best represent and brand clients. It is not made up of 9-5 working robots who think of their job just as a paycheck. The group of professionals at Sheridan are passionate about their work. They will go the extra mile to please a client. No two work days are the same and one has to be flexible to do this. I personally love the inconsistency of working in PR.
3. (Cheesy, but...) have fun!
I choose to pursue this career because I did not want a boring and typical professional life. I have always been a creative thinker and wanted to pursue an industry that provides an outlet and opportunity to showcase that. I have had my share of fun at SPR! Assisting at a milkshake photoshoot for Burger Up Cool Springs and having free rein in creating graphics for various clients are some of my highlights. Like most things in life, PR can be anything that you make it to be. If you want to have a rewarding career, then work hard and do more than is expected. If you want a fun career, then make the most of every day at the office. Sure, at times I was assigned strenuous tasks where I would have much rather been doing an alternative. However, if you have fun with it and remember that the whole point of an internship is to gain experience and knowledge, then it is immediately more interesting and exciting.
Thank you so much to the Sheridan team for taking a chance on me and teaching me all that I know about public relations!