For communications majors, especially those that want to focus on media or sports, getting an internship is incredibly important for the development of your skills and for future possibilities. Because the communication field is so vast and open in what someone can do, internships are crucial for discovering and eliminating what you may want to do with this particular major. Over the summer, I had an internship that seemed to be very structured and straight forward, but in it I had many different kinds of experiences that helped me to find out what I want to do with my future degree.
The internship that I had was with the Green Bay Bullfrogs, a local collegiate baseball team, where I held the position of Public Relations Intern. Coming into the summer I thought that I would be doing more journalistic type of work. I thought that I would be writing game reports, interviewing players, and working on social media. I did this work and I gained a lot of experience in this regard, but I also started to work with other departments of the team, which is something that I never expected to do. Instead of solely working on my writing, I was given the opportunity to work in ticketing, concessions, and so much more. These were experiences that I had no idea that I would do in the summer and I am glad that I was able to undertake them.
By having these experiences, I learned so much about myself and what I would and would not want to do in the future. For example, one experience that I really disliked was working in ticketing. I learned that I really had no passion for working the box office, making sales calls, and dealing with customer service.
On the other hand, one of the experiences that I absolutely loved was doing camera work. I had no prior experience in filming, but they asked me multiple times if I wanted to give it a shot and I absolutely loved it. I learned the fundamentals of filming from how to work a camera to how to shoot a sporting event, both of which are all skills that I never thought I would learn with the Bullfrogs. In addition to this, I also acted as “bodyguard” for special guests that came to the games. We had Cecil Cooper, Squints from The Sandlot, and then Hornswoggle from WWE Wrestling and I was the one who made sure that autographs were paid for and that nothing got too rowdy (I’m not sure why they chose me, I’m not very intimidating). I also really enjoyed this, and getting experience with people who are “famous” helped me to become more comfortable with talking and interacting with those who are “more than ordinary.”
These were experiences that I never thought I would have and they helped me to discover what I would and would not want to do in the future. I believe that this is the most important part of internships, especially for communications majors. The careers are vast and internships help to limit the field while bringing about new passions. For me, I am now highly considering camera work for sports and event planning along with journalism because of one summer internship for a random local baseball team. That is something that classes will not teach you; only going out there and doing it will show you where the possibilities lie!
In terms of getting these opportunities, communication internships are sometimes hard to spot because of the variety of applicable positions to the field. Many of them will be titled: “Communications internship,” but what does that really mean? It could be about event planning, social media, marketing, HR, PR, etc., and they are also in many different places of all shapes and sizes. Nonprofits, museums, sports teams, insurance agencies, and medical facilities are all places that may have communication internships. So one strategy to use is to write down what you are looking for and a list of experiences you want to have. Use these lists to compare with the internships that you find to determine which one is right for you. But also remember that you will most likely experience more than you thought you would!
In addition to this, if you have a specific place you would like to work, do not be afraid to address them directly. Email them about your background, your interest in this field, and inquire about an internship. It never hurts to just ask! Also, many professors on campus have ties with local businesses that can help you to find what you are looking for so be sure to utilize them as a resource.
Lastly, do not expect this internship to be paid. Not all communication internships will be paid. Especially if you are just starting off, do not go into the application process with this in mind. It is more about the experiences that you gain, rather than the money. Just remember why you have a passion for this field and you will have a blast in whatever you do. And if you do not, then you will have the experience to move forward and find something else that interests you!
Being a communication major allows for some great times to be had and for some stellar resumes to be built. The possibilities are out there for you to learn, grow, and to build connections for your future endeavors. Do not be afraid of it, instead go out and discover your calling in the big world of communications.
It also makes for some great photo-ops too: