At my internship, the challenges and opportunities are often one and the same.
My position is at an NY-based communications agency. Everything I’ve heard about what I’m going into sounds like a challenge — there are going to be long hours, an intense atmosphere, and challenging new skills to learn. These challenges, however, are also what makes this internship a great opportunity.
When I spoke with alumni who work in this field, there was one theme that kept resurfacing — agency life can be satisfying, but it is demanding. NY-based agencies are known to be the most brutal, with high levels of burnout and awful work/life balances. Rather than avoid a position in New York, however, it was recommended to me to do exactly the opposite: find a position at a demanding firm, put myself through the wringer, and see how I feel when I come out on the other side.
This internship is an opportunity to learn about the field and to learn about myself. The challenges that I’ll face will show me how well I perform this type of work, whether I am suited to this type of work/life balance, and if this is a field that I enjoy. I believe that regardless of the result, I’ll have received something valuable by the end of it — in addition to the typical benefits of an internship, like new skills and a network of business contacts, I’ll have a strong sense of direction about the path I will take after graduation.