On the Value of Internships: Words of Wisdom from Andrew Collier, an IEW Intern

Sep 20, 2021 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

For college students one of the most significant components of their education is working through an internship. This past summer Andrew Collier, a student from Oral Roberts University, interned at the Institute for Excellence in Writing*. A marketing major with a concentration in data analytics, Andrew has been supporting the company in a number of ways. Recently he wrote a blog post that reveals some of the insights he has gained during his time with us, which we are sharing below. If you have students in college or approaching college, present this post to them. We hope they will find it informative and inspirational.

Many questions ran through my head as I parked my truck in the small lot behind a repurposed church building where I would spend a large portion of my summer. It was my first day working as a marketing intern for the Institute for Excellence in Writing. Most of my nervousness arose from the expectations I had in mind of what my experience would be like rather than any genuine concerns about my ability. I can sometimes let my imagination get the better of me and convince me that I can’t handle a task I’ve been given. I imagine that many students like me, about to enter the initial testing grounds of their education through an internship, share similar anxieties. If you or a student you know are about to begin a college internship, reading about my experience may help ease some fears about taking this next step towards a future career.

When I first arrived for my internship, I wasn’t certain what would happen. I half expected to be given a task and a deadline and then be shunted off into a dark corner of the office where I would remain until my project was completed. Looking back, I will admit that this expectation was a little absurd. Happily my first few days in the office were instead spent meeting other employees within the company and getting better acquainted with IEW’s mission and how it operates. I got to sit in on meetings with other departments and watch new products being developed. It was a pleasant surprise to notice the amount of time I spent away from my desk, learning about other parts of the company. Internships are part of the learning process, and good ones will acquaint you with more of the professional world than just your chosen niche. When it did eventually come time to begin some work projects, my supervisor was great about explaining what I would be doing and being available when I encountered a roadblock or needed some guidance.

Some of the most useful lessons I learned from my time at IEW were more about navigating an office environment and being productive than any of the nitty-gritty details of my field. Before this position, most of the jobs I had held were all related to physical labor in some way. Working in an office is much different than working outdoors. Rather than the physical fatigue of manual labor, working in an office can be mentally tiring. I quickly learned to reserve a few of my more mindless tasks for when my mental energy began to deplete. For example, reading a book I had been assigned to annotate and discuss with the marketing team became my go-to escape from more brain-heavy duties. Time off for lunch and other sanctioned breaks also come in handy. IEW has a daily scheduled afternoon break dubbed the “3 o'clock walk,” a time where employees gather to walk down the drive or play frisbee for ten to fifteen minutes. This greatly refreshed me for my afternoon tasks.

Every company is different, and each has its own traditions, boundaries, and way of doing things. The organization you intern with may vary significantly from mine in formality and structure and will more than likely be wildly different from your expectations. In my head I had imagined that the environment I was walking into would be stiff, formal, and impersonal. Thankfully the reality was much different. The people at IEW can be most accurately described as friendly, from the junior workers all the way up to our founder and CEO, Andrew Pudewa. Productivity and personability do not have to conflict, and I was impressed with the way they were balanced in the office. All my coworkers at IEW took a genuine interest in the lives of the people around them and weren’t afraid to show it. One of my favorite memories I have from the internship is when managers and co-workers alike stayed after work one day to help prepare food for a co-worker’s wedding.

Workplaces all vary in level of formality, but take comfort in the fact that you probably won’t be working in the cold, impersonal corporate world that you may have imagined. If you do find yourself in an internship too gloomy to bear, reach out to your college internship coordinator and seek his or her guidance. There may be another opportunity that would be a better fit for you that you can explore. If you are like me, it can be easy to imagine the worst about whatever internship or new job position you find yourself approaching. The reality is that if you paid attention in your classes up to this point, you probably won’t be faced with anything you can’t handle. Don’t let your expectations drag you down. Just approach the opportunity with confidence, and be ready to learn. I can assert that my internship was one of the most valuable additions I could have made to my education. If you have an opportunity to intern, I highly recommend it. You will learn so much from the experience.

It is hard to believe that Andrew’s internship is already finished. With the fall semester now in progress, he has returned to his studies for his senior year. Upon graduation Andrew hopes to work within law enforcement and eventually start his own business. In the interim we are delighted that he will continue to work with our marketing team in a part-time capacity.


* While IEW occasionally offers internships, at this time we do not have any opportunities available.

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