Even a “Bad” Internship Can Teach Good Lessons

Imagine this: you’re on your feet for 8 hours straight, I-Pad in hand. For five days a week, you walk aimlessly around Meijer, approaching busy shoppers whose only concern is to get home. Where pretty much, the last thing they want to do is talk to a stranger. Oh, and this stranger is trying to sign them up for another credit card to bring them even further into debt.

This was my last internship.

I think it’s safe to say my dream job has never been to pester people at supermarkets. The hours were long, the customers were rude, and the job seemed pointless—at first. But even though my marketing internship wasn’t exactly a 6-month internship with Miss America, I don’t regret it for a minute.

My internship was a stepping-stone towards the future, and this is what it taught me.

1.     Keep smiling, even when someone says you suck.

Every day, I talked to hundreds of people: old, young, busy, tired, you name it. One thing most of them had in common: they did not want to talk to me, and they were not subtle about it. But this happens at every job, in some form. It’s important to learn how to keep a smile on your face when others try to bring you down.

2.     My social skills are through the roof

In Public Relations, it’s no surprise that people-skills are important. I was in a sink-or-swim situation. Either I built relationships quickly in an uncomfortable environment, or I didn’t meet quota. This internship taught me how to talk to every personality type. I even had fun doing it. Now, I can apply this to future clients, interviewers, or even colleagues at work.

3.     You can do anything you put your mind to.

I know, I know—how cliché right? But it’s true. Believe it or not, waking up at 6:30 to drive 45 minutes to a small-town in the middle of Ohio only to be yelled at for hours was not exactly appealing to me. And to top it off, I was terrible. I didn’t make a single sale the first two weeks.  But I was determined. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be successful in any job. One month later, I was the national credit card representative for our company. I set my mind to a goal and I achieved it. 

So no, I did not work my dream job this summer—and I’m glad it didn’t. Starting off with any internship teaches you the basics. You learn self-confidence, determination and how to interact with the people. So I guess I learned a little about Public Relations after all. 

Post by Travel and Tourism account associate Courtney Armpriester