By Matthew Stoffel
I’m looking out the window of my office here at the end of my sixth day of work at The Outdoor Campus. I was incredibly fortunate to land the job as their Public Relations Intern this summer, as a lot of hesitancy on my part made me late for most applications. The idea that I can type “I’m looking out the window of my office” is baffling. But now I can’t think of a better scenario.My hesitancy in applying for jobs had several causes, but the most pertinent was a lack of confidence in my experience. I didn’t think I was ready at this point to do the things most places would ask of me.
Even though I’m studying journalism in college, I didn’t know if my writing was where it needed to be. I was unsure if personal experience and a few side projects would be sufficient for social media work. I didn’t have previous work experience that really fell in line with my area of study.
Now, 6 days in, I can confidently say that I’m not fully prepared. I don’t quite have the hang of everything. I’m stumbling as I walk. But I’m quickly realizing you don’t learn to walk without stumbling. My skills aren’t exactly where they need to be for all the projects I’ll be tackling this summer – but they’re going to get there.
That’s the point of an internship. It’s a practicum, an apprenticeship. It is trial by fire. When I don’t know how to do something, I’m not a failure. I figure it out. I ask for help, and there is plenty of help around. The staff here is close knit – which can be daunting until you realize they’re close because they’re kind people who care about one another, and care about you too. Everyone is willing to answer questions with patience and genuine interest in my understanding. It’s no surprise the staff’s mission is “to provide education.”
As I look ahead at the tasks of the summer, I get a feeling in my stomach, a feeling I could mistake for fear. With all the anxiety of this past school year, the present feeling has definitely settled in a familiar spot. But “nerves” wouldn’t cover this. This is excitement. Vibrant anticipation.
I look ahead at the opportunities afforded to me by challenge and triumph, as well as the things I’ll learn. Six days in, and this experience has been rich. I am having fun, I am learning and most practically minded of all, I’m getting paid. I am ready to take on the summer and all of the assignments, projects and problems that come with the job title. I am excited to have cause again to use the word “excited.” The opportunity to work at an institution like this is exhilarating.
I’m not at the point yet where I can say this place has changed me, but I’m at the point where I can see it will, and I am beckoning it with open arms.
I look forward to being this summer’s Public Relations Intern, and sharing some of my musings on the experience here on the blog.