What a summer! During these unprecedented and unpredictable times of a global pandemic, I was fortunate enough to have a marketing internship which I could do remotely and out-of-state. Although my original plan to intern abroad in Ireland this summer was cancelled, I was able to make the most of the opportunities I had here at home and was able to secure a marketing internship with an amazing small business called Dare to DIY OC. As a local, woman-owned small business in Fullerton, Dare to DIY OC hosts DIY events, sells local products and goods, hosts small parties/events, and more. Dare to DIY OC was created by Chapman University graduate Holly Gresto, and has a sister company called Cookies by Holly. During a time where finding work is so stressful, I was blessed to not only have landed an internship in my desired field of work, but also to have had such a positive experience. One of my favorite moments of my internship was the opportunity I had to collaborate with the other marketing intern, another Strategic and Corporate Communication Chapman student, to brainstorm ideas and present a marketing proposal to the founder and owner of the company. Due to the current climate, much of my work was completed solo and in the comfort of my home, but this assignment was such a fun way to learn to collaborate with others, to stretch my creative muscles and bounce ideas off each other. I also found that this assignment helped develop my leadership skills, as the other student intern was much younger, so I was able to provide lots of guidance and advice about things I have learned in my three years at Chapman. My favorite part about working for a small business is the opportunity to have direct contact with the founder/owner and the ability to see how my work directly impacts the success of the business.
Entering into this internship, I was nervous because it was the first one I had ever had, but at the same time, I felt fully prepared for what was to come, all thanks to how well the School of Communication had prepared me. From classes such as “Marketing through a Communication Lens” to “Mass Communication” to “Message Design,” the interdisciplinary approach of the Strategic and Corporate Communication program has shaped me into a very prepared employee entering the post-graduation job market. With any new task or assignment that was presented to me, even if I had never utilized the platform or program before, I felt equipped to problem solve with ease and put my best creative foot forward. The best skills I brought into this internship were my knowledge of effective message design, experience with target market and background research, and general social media knowledge. These skills that were honed at Chapman allowed me to successfully create and disperse content for Dare to DIY OC, as well as teach the founder and owner a few new things about social media marketing, improving her future endeavors even once my internship is completed!
One of the biggest lessons I learned through this internship is how to be self-disciplined and self-sufficient. This was affected by many factors, but heavily by the fact that the entirety of the internship took place remotely, which takes away the accountability of working in person. This experience taught me a lot about myself and the environments in which I work best, how to best motivate myself, when my personal creativity is most likely to strike, and more. Additionally, this position allowed me to have lots of self-sufficiency and creativity, because this is a new company and doesn’t have as clear of a structure as a larger corporation. This helped me decide that I enjoy the environment and style of a small business, and will likely pursue those types of options in future career paths. During my time as a marketing intern for Dare to DIY OC, I found that my biggest challenge was adjusting to working from home. Because this internship took place right after the spring semester, when I first had to make the switch to online learning due to COVID-19, I somewhat knew what to expect, but the challenges it presented were harder than I anticipated. I live in a pretty small home with my family, where the only table in the house is our kitchen table, so finding a quiet place to work wasn’t easy. Normally, my ideal workspace is a nice little coffee shop; with an iced latte and my laptop, I’m an unstoppable worker. However, due to the pandemic, all my favorite local coffee spots were temporarily shut down. I originally found it hard to make the adjustment to not having access to a good workspace. But in times like these, you have to make the best of the circumstances you’re in. Whether this was taking time to work outside in my backyard or utilizing a “lap desk” in my bed, it was a summer of trying new things and figuring out a way to adjust. Much like my trial runs in an attempt to find a good workspace, I equally was trying new things in my internship. From learning how to draft mass emails with MailChimp, to writing my first sets of real Instagram caption copies, to photoshopping images, I saw a lot of personal and professional growth. Although my summer internship did not go according to my original plan, it has taught me how to be more flexible and still pursue excellence in whatever circumstance you’re in, even if that is a global pandemic.
Overall, I believe that this internship experience has shown me how to apply what I have learned in the classroom in the real world, that I truly do want to enter the field of social media marketing post-graduation, and most importantly, what I will look for and value in the companies and future employers I will work for. My advice to other Chapman students completing internships during their college career is to not be afraid of what you don’t know! Instead of feeling ill-equipped or nervous when presented with a task you are unfamiliar with, see it as an opportunity for growth and learning. This shift in perspective will improve your outlook on completing the task, will allow you to complete it with greater success, and will leave you with a new skill at the end of the day. Even in crazy times like these – don’t be afraid to just go for it, Panthers!