General / Reflections

Five Things I Learned About Life from My Internship

 By Emily Messerly, PRSSA member

I recently blogged about my amazing internship in Washington D.C. The skills I gained will surely benefit me in my career, but I had no idea how much the opportunity would benefit me in other aspects of my future. Here are five things I learned that helped turn my internship into a growth experience that helped me find the direction I wanted to take not only my career, but my life.

1)    The Things That Matter to Me-I will never forget sitting outside with my friend, looking out at the nation’s capital, and suddenly realizing what I wanted out of life. I wanted to move to ‘the big city’ when I graduated and start my life there. I knew I wanted to get married someday, but not until later in my life. I realized how important my career was to me, and even if I married a millionaire, I would always want to work. Internships are supposed to help you figure out your career path, but they can also help you realize your long-term goals in life.

2)    Put Things Into Perspective-In college, it can be easy to get preoccupied with petty things, such as drama with your friends, but internships give you your first taste in the real world and can help you to see what counts. I was able to work on projects that contributed to major policy decisions, and in turn, got an opportunity to see the big picture in life.

3)    It’s Never Too Late-When I applied for my internship, my empty resume made me realize I was just going through the motions. I was in no activities, had done no volunteer work, and had spent much of college just getting by. I felt like I was too far into school to get involved in extracurriculars, but one of my coworkers helped me realize that there’s no time like the present. It’s never too late to make a change, especially if it’s a positive one.

4)    The Importance of Seeing the World-D.C. was unlike any place I had ever been before, and it made me realize that there was so much in the world that I wanted to see. If there was only one recommendation I could make, it would be to intern somewhere completely different from where you are now. It can change your view of the world and inspire you to no end.

5)    Don’t Wish Your Life Away-I’m sure we’ve all said at some point how excited we’ll be when we graduate. However, my internship taught me it’s important not to wish your life away, because college goes pretty fast. My internship challenged me not to keep looking at the clock and waiting for the next day to begin. Enjoy what you have today, and don’t count down the hours, be it the next day or the next chapter of your life.


Follow Emily on Twitter! @emilymesserly

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