At my college, securing a paid communications internship as a junior is rare enough to invite fascination and interrogation from other students.

For those friends studying finance, actuarial science, or are on the pre-med track, the term “public relations” is foreign and meaningless. Helping them understand my world of social media strategies and media relations stories impacted my own understanding of the industry.

Looking back on past internships I can rattle off the daily tasks I did, but what sticks out in my mind is having to decide how to stay busy, whether it be spending extra time on a task or refreshing Ad Age to read about the latest industry trends. The workload was minimal even when I continued to ask for tasks. I had almost given up on small agencies, assuming this was a normal organizational culture, at least for PR.

My skepticism stayed, but didn’t stop me from accepting the Spring/Summer 2016 PR internship at Momentum – I saw the potential for reinventing my image of the industry. As I approach my 5 month anniversary here, I begin to review my experience through the lens of everyone’s two favorite questions.

  • What do you do at your internship?
  • How do you like your internship?

Even after 5 months, I still debate the proper answer to the first question. I’ll make a joke that I’ve promoted an orchestra one day and then gave brand strategy advice to a financial corporation the next day. What may have started out as a joke led to a startling realization that I was making an impact and helping Momentum create results. I was no longer stuck on the sidelines – something I never thought was possible as a junior in college.

As a student, I hadn’t realized what it meant to be valued at work, but I thought this would come with time and experience. On the contrary, I have come across a team of hard working employees who treat each other’s ideas with respect and offer constructive feedback to everyone, including the interns. Energy is contagious and positive energy is hard to find in an industry that often involves crucial decisions and stressful deadlines. It’s refreshing to be in an environment that encompasses collaboration and has made me feel as much a part of the team as our CEO.

At Momentum, I get to do everything from orchestra presenter outreach to identifying trends in healthcare finance to brainstorming names for a kosher family friendly restaurant. Needless to say, Momentum has given me the opportunity to work on a wide variety of nonprofit, education, and corporate accounts. This unique experience has reminded me to keep an open mind as a student when trying to find the corporate culture fit that will define the rest of my career.

After reading this blog post, I hope that the answer to the second question has already been answered.