Transitioning Back to College After a Dream Internship

Trump_GortIt felt like I was Cinderella in my own personal fairytale.

I would work at glamorous photo shoots and casually meet celebrity icons. Attending red carpet events were regularly jotted down in my planner. Being chauffeured around New York City with Miss Universe was as normal as drinking a cup of coffee.

Who was I and how did I get to this magical place?

It all started from applying to the Miss Universe Organization, where I worked as a PR intern in NYC for five months. Hands down, the most rewarding opportunity of my life. Working with this prestigious company gave me the best real world PR experience I could’ve ever imagined. I never thought I’d be one to fall in love with a job, but being a part of the 2013 Miss USA competition’s entire production truly helped me discover my passion for becoming a PR professional, specifically in the entertainment industry.

Adjusting back to the college life after interning with MUO, however, was not the easiest transition. There was some inevitable sadness and culture shock after leaving the big city lifestyle. Not to mention, I was anxious to get a real world job instead of being a college student more than ever. Regardless of how ready I was, it didn’t change the fact that I still had to finish my last three semesters at OU.

So for all you bobcats that have taken a semester off or are considering it to complete an internship, here are three tips for moving forward from your dream internship while still being stuck as a college student.

1. Make your planner your best friend. The great thing about taking a semester off to intern is only needing to focus on giving 110% to your job. So probably the cruelest joke of all after getting a taste of the real world is going back to the college grind of taking classes, studying for exams and balancing a social life on top of club work while trying not to have a nervous breakdown. YIKES.

Instead of panicking, I learned that making a to-do list every day is actually a huge stress reliever, especially when you get to cross something off! It might seem simple, but keeping a weekly agenda will keep you organized, which automatically makes you a saner person. The key to balance for any college student is time management!

2. Throw yourself into what you love.  As much as I want to move out to LA and begin my PR career, I sadly know I can’t until I finish school. Being able to hone and sharpen my skills and knowledge with the industry now is extremely beneficial for me as a young professional.

Staying involved with ImPRessions and PRSSA allows me to do real professional work to constantly keep improving my journalism toolbox. For that I’m thankful because I can still get relevant PR experience while finishing up school before I’m ready to take the West Coast plunge.

3. Keep the connections and plan for the future. One of the most rewarding things about working at MUO was the people I met. Every one of my colleagues in the office had something to offer as a role model and mentor. I made strong connections with the people I worked with and my advice to everyone is be sure to keep the connections you make at your internships! It could be valuable for the future when seeking out potential employers or wanting to get hired full-time at your previous job. Because remember: it’s not what you know, but who you know!

Interning in the Big Apple

By: Amanda Stefanik
Co-Account Executive, OU Performing Arts Series

For any student who is hesitant to apply for an internship because they feel like they don’t have enough experience or are worried about moving to the big city don’t be worried- APPLY!

I am the perfect example of someone who was worried about not having enough experience and almost didn’t apply for a PR internship with the Miss Universe Organization. I took a risk and am so happy that I did. My internship with the Miss Universe Organization was THE best internship experience that I could have ever had and I would recommend everyone to apply. I can’t write enough about this internship but am going to try and summarize my experience in four points.

  1. Hands on Work: On my first day, my boss called the other intern and I into her office and gave us our tasks. I was privileged enough not to be given typical intern tasks but hands on work that has broadened my portfolio more than I could have imagined. I wrote press releases and itineraries, edited blogs and program book letters, and pitched stories to secure interviews for contestants. I also attended events and interviews with the titleholders. I was very fortunate that my boss trusted me with major tasks. For example, I was in charge of overseeing the media credentials for the Miss USA pageant and working with all the media that attended events leading up to the pageant.
  2. Networking: This internship gave me the opportunity to network with so many people. In New York, I not only worked with the PR team from the Miss Universe Organization, but also agency professionals from Rubenstein Public Relations. When I went to Las Vegas, I was able to network with NBC Universal professionals, PR professionals who helped run events and everyone that helped make the Miss USA Pageant Telecast possible. Finally, since I worked so closely with the media throughout my internship, I made great media contacts with journalists throughout the country.
  3. Production: This internship was different because not only did I learn more about the PR industry, but also about how a major television production comes together. Everyone at the Miss Universe Organization works very closely, because everyone needs to be in the loop for the live telecast to come together. This taught me how important it is for the PR team to be aware and informed about what is going on!
  4. Big City: I not only grew professionally from this internship but also grew personally. By moving to NYC by myself, I became more independent and realized that moving to the big city after I graduate is something that I would love to do!