An Experience of a Lifetime

My hopes for this internship were to gain new skills while fine-tuning my current strengths, and to gain real, hands-on exposure in the digital marketing world with a company. As I write my final blog post, I realize what a truly unique opportunity this was, and that those hopes were largely surpassed; I am leaving with a great deal more than I had ever anticipated or imagined. I am grateful for this experience—it is quite an accomplishment, and will be an impressive contribution to my resume and portfolio upon graduation from the clinic next Wednesday! For a student, this is an experience of a lifetime.

The last two months felt brief, and flew by. During this process I have: had chances to attend several networking events; volunteered for tech events; met prestigious people in my field, and listened to distinguished speakers; got the inside scoop of upcoming workshops, classes, tools and resources; gained real experience working for a fantastic local start-up company by photographing products, preparing online ads for social media, designing large scale print ads, tracking and analyzing business progress, brainstorming concepts and working together as one team, building personas, establishing target audience, and analyzing website activity, improving it for a better and stronger user experience; started a blog to tell my story, and tracked its progress using analytics; ran weekly slide shows involving public speaking, in the all-clinic meetings to share and discuss progress reports and support one another; learned, implemented, and earned a certification in Google Analytics; explored Google AdWords; strengthened and grew my connections and network—out of my 170 LinkedIn connections, 70 have been made since beginning this program, all 70 relevant and meaningful connections to my field; received insight, tips, and tricks for job hunting; listened to the journeys of many successful entrepreneurs; met all challenges and deadlines; and made 23 diverse student friends—whom I have learned so much from—attending EMU, WCC, MSU, and UofM. 

...just, WOW. ...What a summer!! I certainly gained new skills, fine-tuned my established skill set, and gained real, hands-on experience working for a great start-up company that I am proud of and learned from, while growing with them. All of this, and I had a blast to boot!! This experience has been profoundly important, and will benefit my job search once I earn my degree in the spring. 

So, here are a few of my tips and tricks I came away with from this internship:
  • When a chance like this comes along, take it! As technology rapidly grows, it's critical to grow with it, and get those tools for your belt. 
  • Know the ways to appeal to a company to get hired, but also know ways to be sure that company is a good fit for you.
  • You're going to make mistakes—welcome them as lessons, and learn from them.
  • Start-ups are an intense process—be patient and understanding, do your very best, and ask a lot of questions.
  • Stay organized—it's a lot to handle, especially if you are in classes and working.
  • Connecting and networking are gravely significant.
  • Welcome discomfort—marvelous things come from taking chances outside of your comfort zone.
That's it for me! In a short two weeks, fall semester begins, and with it comes newspaper design and pagination, conferences, travel, classes, meetings, and I'll be one semester closer to graduating. I'm feeling confident about my job search in the spring. Many thanks to Ann Arbor Spark for everything they do for start-ups, but also for offering me a chance as an intern in their summer digital clinic. It was nothing short of incredible.


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