Lessons in unexpected places: Pursue new things in college
I started college with a one-track mindset. I wanted to be Oprah Winfrey. I didn’t care how unrealistic that sounded. I hate hearing the word “no” and I was not going to let it dictate my future career path. However, little did I know that I would graduate heading in a completely different direction.
In my early years of college, I didn’t understand why broadening my skillset outside of my journalism background would be worthwhile. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the field. So I thought it would be a waste of time. Well, it wasn’t until I was in desperate need of an internship the summer of my sophomore year that I learned the importance of reaching outside of my comfort zone.
Two summers ago, I took an opportunity as a content development intern for a small AV company. At first, I was a little reluctant to take the internship because it wasn’t directly related to journalism, but I didn’t have any other options. Although it wasn’t what I wanted, it gave me more professional development than I ever anticipated.
During my internship, I learned a lot about marketing and how it ties together so many different skillsets. In fact, I remember having a conversation with my supervisor about my career goals and she gave me some very valuable advice. She told me that instead of focusing on one career path, I should broaden my skillset based on my interests and tailor my career appropriately.
I decided to take this advice and run with it. I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, but after minoring in broadcasting, I quickly learned that I did not want to be on camera. So, the dreams of being Oprah Winfrey crashed and burned q u i c k l y. However, from my internship in content development, I found out that I really enjoyed the creative side of marketing. For my next internship, I decided to pursue an opportunity with Starz Entertainment Group in its publicity department.
This was one of my best opportunities because it gave me a taste of what it would be like to work in a fast-paced environment. I interned with Starz for four months and quickly learned that I really enjoyed working in this industry, but the day-to-day work—which mainly consisted of pitching, event planning and clipping—was not my ideal career. So, I left this internship with a better understanding of the path that I wanted to pursue.
Last summer, I decided to take an opportunity with an insurance company as a corporate communications intern. The industry, I knew, was not something that I wanted to stay in for the long haul. However, the work offered a variety of things that interested me. During my time there, I worked on social media analytics, corporate social responsibility, and media relations. I really enjoyed this work experience because it helped me hone my interests.
So for my next internship, I knew I wanted to work in entertainment, but I wanted to be part of a department that balanced public relations and social media. For my final internship, I accepted an offer with MTV’s digital strategy and fan engagement team and it was exactly what I wanted. I worked on show social media accounts creating gifs, memes, Vines, and Facebook and Instagram videos.
Now, I will graduate and give you the same advice my first boss gave me. Use your time in college to experiment and take chances. You will never know the extent of your interests unless you take the time to explore them. I graduate in less than two weeks and can confidently tell you, I leave with no regrets. I hope you will be able to say the same.
Rachel Hassett is a journalism major from Marlton, NJ. She can be reached at rachel.hassett@student. shu.edu.