As many public relations majors know, a degree in PR is highly versatile. While there are the pros of being flexible within different companies, for me, it just furthered my struggle with finding my niche. Within PRSSA, I had opportunities to visit various PR agencies and hear from both corporate and institutional PR representatives. As informative and engaging each session and meeting was, I still needed to fully become immersed in the culture of public relations to understand precisely where I would fit post-graduation, and that’s when I decided to take a leap and start searching for internships.
In all honesty, my internship search was based entirely on proximity. I applied to any internship that was close by, no matter the company, and as risky as that was, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The company that gave me the best offer was Marcfirst, a non-profit organization working to provide independence and acceptance to children and adults with disabilities. Beginning the first day of the job, I came in greeted with smiles, hugs, and cupcakes (my supervisor was a big sweets person)! Each day was new and exciting, whether I started the day spending hours creating design templates on Canva or measuring the increase/reductions of donor and donation amounts. I learned so much in just the four short months that I dedicated to the job, but not all of what I learned showed off my skillsets in PR. The majority of what I came to understand was what interns, employees, and management deserve within the workplace. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that spending countless hours sorting through excel files or working with numbers would be enjoyable. The culture of Marcfirst is so welcoming, dedicated, and inspiring. Marcfirst is the only company where an intern, like myself, could have lunch and build a friendship with the CEO of a company. My supervisor would have snack bins in her office that she would fill daily so that every time someone would come for a meeting or a quick visit, they could grab a snack or “pick-me-up” for all their hard work. The vice president would make sure each person working at Marcfirst was given a shirt and goodie-bag from the CEO to the custodians and interns.
Marcfirst is a caring group of people who are genuinely working to better the lives of the residents and make the community a more welcoming and accepting environment. I am so thankful that I was able to understand my worth as an intern while also learning valuable skills that I will take with me in my career. I highly recommend looking at the company’s goals and culture before accepting an offer. If I hadn’t been so lucky, I could have ended up with an organization that didn’t value and respect me, and it would have entirely shaped my idea on the world of public relations.
By: Gabriella Solis
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.