I will come right out and say it – I was an internship addict. I spent countless hours between November 2010 and May 2011 researching, applying to, and following-up with summer 2011 internships. Can we just say that I had an entire Firefox bookmark folder dedicated to internships?
During the springtime – internship application season – I would refresh SimplyHired.com and my college’s employment database twice a day. Sometimes I was lucky, other times, I was not: every Monday there would be a new batch of promising internships to apply for, but many times I would only find scam or recycled job posts.
Last night I was feeling nostalgic about sending out cover letters and resumes – bizarre, I know – but I counted how many applications I sent out. The number was 55. I submitted at least 55 sets of documents, not even counting some internships I applied to out of desperation in an online fill-in-the-blank fashion. Pearson was always my first choice, but just like with college applications, it’s never smart to apply only to one place. I applied to other publishing companies, advertising agencies, and marketing firms, all of which varied in size since I am still trying to find the environment I’m most comfortable in.
I suppose much of my anxiety stemmed from not hearing back from Pearson until the end of April and early May. I knew Pearson was special – it had a highly-regarded internship program unlike some other companies I applied to, and I really wanted to work there, but by April all of my friends received their summer internship offers or had their fathers call in favors. I am an incredibly determined person, so the thought of not getting an internship on my own merit made me angry. “I’m more qualified for a job than he is,” I said. As you can guess, I went through my bitter phase. Those who were setup with an internship emphasized the importance of networking, but we all know there’s a difference between networking and “Dad making a few calls.”
I would describe Pearson’s interview process as rigorous – I had seven interviews before being hired. At the time, I saw it as more of a hindrance, but now I completely understand; Pearson only hires the most qualified interns. Each interview helps Human Resources narrow the applicant pool and hire the best interns for each department. My co-interns are student leaders, honors students, budding writers, and all-around diligent workers. The chemistry we share is due in part to similar campus experiences.
Most interns eat lunch everyday on the patio. You would be hard-pressed to find us not laughing or talking about food. Yes, we all love food, and some of us bring in lunch treats for everyone. (We’re secretly still high schoolers!)
So, a few months later, I am now typing this from my own office at Pearson. I am a paid intern, and my commute is between 15 and 20 minutes by car. The office has half-days on Fridays during the summer months. Every week, we have intern-specific meetings about sales, marketing, media, editorials, and overall management. Best of all, my co-workers in the Health Sciences and Careers division treat me with dignity. I’m not “the intern,” but rather an employee who is given independent projects ranging from social media engagement to interviewing college professors. I am able to take credit for my work, and will be referenced for my contributions long after the internship ends. I hope to make the most of my time at Pearson and help affect positive change in my department. I want to be remembered as the intern who created an effective social media strategy for Pearson’s Brady Books. I want to reach out to students and educators alike, forge a relationship, and facilitate a conversation.