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Internship Wrap-Up

I know I haven’t been able to blog as much as I’d have liked to (it’s been a CRAZY busy semester!) but as my time at Make-A-Wish has come to an end, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect back. I don’t even know where to begin, looking back on the three most rewarding months of my life.
I’ve made professional connections that will have my back throughout any future needs. I’ve made lifelong friends with the other interns (and a few staff members) that are genuinely some of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. I’ve learned invaluable skills regarding office etiquette, marketing strategies, social media tools, graphic design elements, and so much more to add to my resume. I’ve established time management skills that can’t be learned until you really work a corporate job. I’ve learned what I want and what I don’t want in a future career. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve been continually reminded of the precious gift of life on a day-by-day basis. The burdens of chores, the meaningless friendship fights, and the annoyances of traffic/meetings/etc. don’t seem quite as significant when you work at a company like Make-A-Wish.
As I move forward this summer and next fall with already-established internship opportunities, I know that nothing will quite compare to the time I had here. Of course, this internship couldn’t last forever—(I need something paid, after all!)—but it truly helped me grow personally and professionally more than I could’ve ever imagined. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, the staff at Make-A-Wish, and my teachers at Tech that made it possible! I’ll remember this semester for the rest of my life, and hopefully remain a Make-A-Wish volunteer for just as long!

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Another reminder of how impactful the Make-A-Wish mission truly is.

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Reflecting on the First Full Week of my Internship

Throughout my quarter-life crisis of figuring out what I was good at, what I was passionate about, and what I could pursue career-wise that combines these traits and can allow me to live outside of my parents’ basement, I always settled on the philosophy that I didn’t care strongly about the work I’d be doing, as long as I was surrounded by positive, uplifting, and sociable people that made a fun and welcoming office environment.  At Make-A-Wish Georgia, I have found exactly this and more! 

Lunch hours are (expectedly) the highlights of my days, as the interns and staff members alike socialize and discuss the latest celebrity gossip, tips on the best hair salon in town, and their brackets for both “The Bachelor” and the Super Bowl.  Although I remember getting this vibe when initially interviewing at the office, the process of becoming integrated into the bond of co-workers is exactly what I imagined in a dream internship.

            Another similarity between my expectations and the reality of work deals with what I am actually doing: between managing social media accounts, editing photographs, sorting old and new files, writing stories, compiling newsletters, creating press releases and media contracts, contacting donors and media outlets, and analyzing marketing strategies and feedback, each day is an entirely new adventure that combines doing things that I love and learning brand new skills. 

            Perhaps the only aspect that I was not entirely prepared for was the introduction to working eight hours per day, five days per week.  Transitioning from the college lifestyle where classes take up approximately three hours of your day and you have the remaining twenty-one to sleep, exercise, socialize, and—admittedly and not ashamedly—watch three straight hours of “Friends” re-runs on TBS every single day, the process of going to bed early, waking up early, and having the majority of daylight hours filled with an office environment undoubtedly required an adjustment period and a lot of caffeine.  

            Ultimately, if this is the greatest complaint I have about my internship, I can consider myself exceptionally lucky.  (Side note: another plus of working at Make-A-Wish is being able to put your life in unbelievable perspective; needless to say, I’ve been feeling gracious quite a bit lately.)  Plus, this experience is certainly preparing me for practically any job I obtain upon graduation, which will probably require a similar time commitment and perhaps even more grunt work!  I’m doing work I love, surrounded by people that I’m growing to love, for an organization that operates on a mission statement of “Hope, Strength, and Joy”—there’s not much to complain about!

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Landing my Dream Internship

As I began my descent into the formidable entry into upperclassman-ship, with the bright light of the real world blinding me from the end of the tunnel, I realized that I truly needed to obtain a solid internship to build my resume and prepare me for a career.  I searched the ranks of CareerBuzz, the majority of which were aimed towards engineers and the always-desirable computer scientists.  Out of the remaining options made for me as a Science, Technology, and Culture major, I only had three major criteria for searching: I wanted an internship based on media, located where I could still live at Tech and commute, and with a brand name company.  As I saw a listing for a Marketing and Communications position with Make-A-Wish Georgia, the opportunity seemed like a far-fetched wish (no pun intended).  I applied without much hope, as they listed “Marketing” as the desired area of study.

            When I landed a phone interview and answered absolutely every stereotypical interview question in the book (I’ve never had to think of so many negative qualities to spin into positives before!), I somehow earned an in-person interview for the following week.  As I prepared my best business casual attire and researched as many company statistics as I could to casually toss into conversation, I knew that I wanted this position more than anything I’d ever wanted. 

            The co-workers in the office were dressed in classy but trendy clothes, the conversations abound seemed light-hearted (and heavily college football-based), and the lobby was filled with bound books featuring “wish children”.  The pure and inevitable joy across the sick kids’ faces was enough to practically bring me to tears (although, I didn’t, since I was trying to be professional and all).  The booklets were also accompanied by somewhat staggering statistics concerning the health benefits incurred by the “Power of a Wish”.   Although it wasn’t entirely ideal that the full-time internship would be unpaid, the benefits of doing something meaningful seemed to far outweigh any amount of money I could earn elsewhere.

            As I entered my interview with the Volunteer Manager and two staff members in the Marketing and Communications department, my nerves seemed to somehow fade, despite the intensity with which I desired the job.  As the three interviewers described the job duties and requirements, I found that my education as a STaC student and film-making experience studying abroad had wholly prepared me for this Communications-based internship.  I whipped out relevant examples for each and every attribute they inquired about, and was able to genuinely express my feelings about the scenario with images of the wish kids in the back of my mind.

            Needless to say, I was extremely fortunate to be selected as the sole Marketing and Communications intern for the Spring 2014 term!  I am beyond excited to learn and grow with this position and experience a true office environment.  (There’s even a water cooler!)  Furthermore, I am thrilled to use my skill set to do what I love (graphic design, movie-making, social media integration and evaluation, etc.) for a company that does so much good.

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One of the best parts about being an Ivan Allen College student at Georgia Tech is the incredibly close relationships you’re able to form with professors given the low faculty-to-student ratio.  Last Spring, I took a Foundations of Sport Studies course with Professor John Smith; through many office hour visits and discussions, I described my dream internship of working at an Atlanta-based TV station such as Turner, CNN, or WXIA-TV.  This semester, Professor Smith and I stayed in contact and he organized a one-on-one private tour of the CNN Center with Sports Broadcaster, Mark McKay!  We were able to tour behind-the-scenes and see what a day in the life at the “office” would be like.  :)

One of the best parts about being an Ivan Allen College student at Georgia Tech is the incredibly close relationships you’re able to form with professors given the low faculty-to-student ratio.  Last Spring, I took a Foundations of Sport Studies course with Professor John Smith; through many office hour visits and discussions, I described my dream internship of working at an Atlanta-based TV station such as Turner, CNN, or WXIA-TV.  This semester, Professor Smith and I stayed in contact and he organized a one-on-one private tour of the CNN Center with Sports Broadcaster, Mark McKay!  We were able to tour behind-the-scenes and see what a day in the life at the “office” would be like.  :)

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This semester, I have finally taken full advantage of the absolute unbeatable location that Georgia Tech offers!  Whether attending Falcons games just down the street at the Georgia Dome, seeing concerts around the corner at the Tabernacle, or experiencing some of the finest restaurants in the nation on Ponce, being in Atlanta is an added benefit to attending one of the greatest schools with some of the greatest people and greatest professors in the world.  Above all, though, my favorite activity to do outside of class is to go running at Piedmont Park.  While training for an upcoming half marathon, I will often run the mere 1.6 miles from North Avenue to Piedmont and explore the endless trails surrounded by skyscrapers there.  The weather this past week has been absolutely beautiful and the fall colors at the Park were too good to not Instagram! 

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My Poem

As I’ve mentioned in blog posts before, I am SO excited about each and every class I’m taking this semester.  Up until now, I have been in a mixture of 100+ student lecture halls and boring core classes that I am not completely interested in.  However, this semester I am taking 3 exciting LCC courses and Marketing!  My LCC curriculum consists of a senior seminar on Disney Animation, a lecture-based class on film editing theory, and a writing seminar on poetry.  For the poetry class, the students (there’s only 4 of us in all!) write a poem each week and critique and reform each one.  Here is a poem I wrote this week and shared today :) 


Hiking Up Kennesaw


Every Sunday my grandfather brought me to this mountain;
sometimes before the sun rose

to watch the colors surge

over the eastern horizon.

He declared the pink in the sky

was the blood of night, sacrificing

itself for the birth of a bright beginning.

He searched out the battleground remnants

and memorials of soldiers

who made this mountain their grave.

I rolled my eyes at the painstaking

time spent reading those plaques,

while joggers passed and we paused.

I preferred the solitude of the high air,

the slippery gravel that made the climb an act of triumph,

the breathlessness of ascending.

As I trek to the top this time,

each step a stark reminder,

every landscape holding memories,

I hear his footsteps echoing mine

as I scatter his ashes atop the lookout.

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Tonight, I got the opportunity to listen to two world-renowned poets, Anne Marie Macari and Stephen Dunn.  While taking LMC 4204: Poetry and Poetics II (Workshop) with Professor Lux this semester, my eyes have been opened and my skill set expanded as I’ve been introduced to the world of poetry.  The class blends the occasional reading of famous poems while mostly focusing on the writing and development of our own poetry.  In fact, this is my third poetry-focused class I’ve taken at Georgia Tech!  Freshman year, my English 1102 class (taught by Professor Holley) was specifically focused on American Poetry; Sophomore year, I took LMC 3204 (also with Professor Lux) which was based around weekly seminars with in-depth poetry reading and analysis; And, now, I finally get to write my own poetry and have it critiqued by a professional!  Only one of the many benefits of being Liberal Arts @ Georgia Tech!

Tonight, I got the opportunity to listen to two world-renowned poets, Anne Marie Macari and Stephen Dunn.  While taking LMC 4204: Poetry and Poetics II (Workshop) with Professor Lux this semester, my eyes have been opened and my skill set expanded as I’ve been introduced to the world of poetry.  The class blends the occasional reading of famous poems while mostly focusing on the writing and development of our own poetry.  In fact, this is my third poetry-focused class I’ve taken at Georgia Tech!  Freshman year, my English 1102 class (taught by Professor Holley) was specifically focused on American Poetry; Sophomore year, I took LMC 3204 (also with Professor Lux) which was based around weekly seminars with in-depth poetry reading and analysis; And, now, I finally get to write my own poetry and have it critiqued by a professional!  Only one of the many benefits of being Liberal Arts @ Georgia Tech!

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This weekend, I’ll be preparing to study for my midterm in my LMC 4500 class, a Senior Seminar on Film Studies.  However, it can’t truly be considered studying when the requirements involve watching “Bambi,” “Dumbo,” “Pinnochio,” and “Snow White.” #iamliberalarts