Acquiring an internship is (major) key when it comes to gaining real world, on the job experience. Internships are a great way to learn, network, and even explore your career path more thoroughly.
They also serve as an opportunity to help you meet professionals that can offer you advice that you may not get otherwise. That was the case for Molly Schlecht.
Molly is an individual who has always been intrigued by art. From selling her handmade jewelry in middle school to now having an online Etsy shop for her assortment of painted shoes, it only makes sense that she is now pursuing a major in graphic design.
As a freshman, Schlecht wasn’t sure what minor would best compliment her graphic design major; that’s when she decided to do some networking and talk to someone who was already immersed in the industry.
Cher Moore is the head of the Public Relations office at the Elmhurst Public Library, the place where Molly had worked the previous summer. Schlecht reached out to her looking for career advice on the situation she found herself in.
“She explained that I had multiple options I could explore, but the best action for me to take would be to take on an internship, thus gaining real life experience.”
Moore was hosting her first internship opportunity that summer and encouraged Molly to apply for it in order to help her find out if that was the direction she might want to take her future career. Upon doing some research on what the internship would consist of, she discovered that it was exactly the opportunity she had been looking for.
“I would gain real life experience, have the opportunity to build my portfolio, and add to my resume. Additionally, I would have the opportunity to learn more about graphic design, and become better prepared for my classes on campus.”
As the new intern for Elmhurst Public Library, Molly took on new responsibilities dealing with both public relations and graphic design. She was able to get hands on experience making digital signage for the various programs the library hosted, editing their magazine, “The Fine Print,” and got to see her hard work displayed all throughout the library.
“My responsibilities didn’t end with The Fine Print and program promotion. I had the opportunity to plan the grand re-opening celebration, write featurettes for the city newsletter/paper, host a photo contest at the library’s Comic Con and perhaps the most crucial was being able to attend meetings with my supervisor.”
It wasn’t the hands-on practice or the job title she would add to her resume (although they were great outcomes as well). What Schecht wanted most from this internship was a chance to learn more about the career path she had chosen, and to get the assurance that she’d be happy with her future career decisions. Through guidance and from simply observing Cher, after three months of interning at the library, Molly learned more than she ever had expected to.
“It is invaluable experience to be able to shadow somebody in your chosen profession, and it was incredibly beneficial for me… The experiences I gained this past summer were that of a lifetime, and I know they helped develop my sense of professionalism.”
Schlecht has officially chosen advertising as her minor and plans on graduating in the Fall of 2017. Her ideal job is to work as a graphic designer for an in-house agency. She encourages her peers to take on an internship if they ever have the opportunity as the experience she gained from this one has set her apart and given her a deeper insight into the real-world work experience.
“…take advantage of any internship you are offered. Internships, even when unpaid, are an opportunity to gain real world experience while in college. From my personal experience I can honestly say that I have excelled in my classes and on campus job because of my internship. When fully immersed in a job, you learn tips and tricks that you can’t learn in a classroom, which puts you one step ahead of your classmates.”
Interested in checking out some of the work Molly has completed? Be sure to check out her website!
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