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Minnis: Reflections on the intern experience

Community Voice

Internships: Constant coffee trips, thousands of letters to lick and mindless errands.

What better way for me to spend my last summer before graduation?

I’m sure most of us know that as much “fun” as internships can be, they have another purpose. They are the best way to get your foot into the professional door.

The only thing is, you constantly hear stories of interns doing senseless, unimportant things that give no real experience.

So, during spring semester, when I was applying to every marketing internship I could find, I was not too excited. Yes, I wanted the experience. I wanted to work. I wanted all the perks that come with it. However, I was not looking forward to the mindless errands that I felt I would surely have to carry out.

I applied everywhere from a huge firm in Chicago with major clients to a firm that I’m pretty sure made up half of their clients. I didn’t care, I just needed an internship. 50+ applications and a few weeks later, I finally started hearing back from some. That firm in Chicago? They weren’t interested. That firm that made up their clients? Well, they were interested, but again, I’m pretty sure half their clients were made up. So when I got an email back from the Wheaton Park District for a marketing internship, I thought, “perfect.” If I’m going to spend my summer getting coffee and running errands, I might as well do it close to home. And it was close to home, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about the first part.

In the first month of my internship, I was attending meetings and being asked for my opinion and given responsibilities. I was asked to design a postcard to go out to thousands of people, create a marketing display and write press releases. I was assisting in The Taste of Wheaton, Cosley Zoo’s Run for the Animals, Curious George events, Gospel Jazz Fest, July 3rd Fireworks and the July 4th parade. I was writing articles and taking photographs that were published. I was meeting with local businesses about marketing events and sponsorships. I was introduced to the many people that work for the park district.

The second month just started and I’ve already assisted in the marketing plan for the new Shakespeare in the Park event, written this article and met new people, on top of numerous other tasks. My summer marketing internship with the park district hasn’t been anything like the ones you constantly hear about.

Although, I was asked to get coffee once.

Darwin Minnis is a marketing intern for the Wheaton Park District

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