From FORM to Full Time: Summer Internship Experience Reflections

  • Categories:

    Agency Life, Inspiration

  • Date:

    November 17, 2023

From FORM to Full Time: Summer Internship Experience Reflections

Agency Life Inspiration

Two years ago in the fall of 2021, I marked Wray Ward’s FORM internship application deadline on my calendar and geared up to take my shot at the opportunity of a lifetime. Back then, if you’d asked me if I thought I might land an interview, the imposter syndrome in me would’ve said, “Yeah, no.”

What a difference two years can make.

In the last year alone, I graduated from Virginia Tech with a public relations degree, moved to a new state, got married and started my career as a PR/content coordinator at Wray Ward. Needless to say, it’s been a busy season of life.

Today, as I approach my first anniversary as a full-time Wray Ward employee, I can’t help but reflect on how much the agency’s FORM internship had to do with helping me get here.

Taking the Leap

What drew me to Wray Ward’s FORM internship in the first place?

When the time came for me to research internships during my junior year of college, I had my sights set on the Queen City. I also knew I wanted to experience working in an agency setting. With those two things guiding my search, I stumbled upon Wray Ward’s FORM internship website.

I continued the hunt and made note of several other potential opportunities, but I kept coming back to the FORM internship. The prospect of working in a real-world agency on real client work appealed to me. But I also wanted to make connections, challenge myself and have fun — and Wray Ward checked all the boxes.

What was my first impression of the agency?

After interviewing and receiving the official congratulatory acceptance email, I was overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness. From the outside looking in, I had an idea of what Wray Ward was like, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect as the internship start date drew near. Then, in May 2022, I made the drive from my hometown in Virginia to North Carolina and prepared for my long-awaited first day as a FORM intern.

When I arrived at 2317 Thrift Road, the inspiring office space blew me away. As soon as I walked through the doors, I took in Wray Ward’s vibrant colors, adaptive workspaces and stunning view of the Charlotte skyline. With home-inspired elements and tons of natural light, it was a breath of fresh air.

And when I met my fellow interns — each of whom brought unique talents to our team — I felt ready to hit the ground running. I dove into our summerlong project and immersed myself in the PR/Content department as much as I could.

Learning the Ropes

The FORM internship is an opportunity to join forces with a collective of young minds from across the country to create real work for real clients. In 2022, my team had the privilege of working with Charlotte Art League, a nonprofit visual arts organization and one of Wray Ward’s EmpoWWer service-grant recipients, on a fully integrated brand awareness campaign.

Knowing I had much to learn from a PR perspective, I approached the project with a growth mindset. I took what I’d learned so far in my college PR courses and tapped into the expertise of the agency’s industry-leading experts, who knew exactly what it would take to bring this project to fruition.

As an intern trying to find her footing in the industry, I learned the value of teamwork while we ideated, planned and executed our work. I learned the importance of flexibility and adaptability as we experienced hits and misses throughout the summer. Working against a tight timeline, we had to stay on our toes and be ready to pivot at any moment to come up with the best solution for the client.

To increase awareness and help Charlotte Art League double down on its vision to create an inclusive arts community, we developed a marketing communications plan and visual campaign. As a team, we formulated paid, earned, owned and shared tactics. Our visual campaign concept, entitled “This Is Charlotte Art League,” gave the organization a refreshed look that would soon be integrated across their social media channels, new website and email communications. Seeing the client’s joyful response to our work is something I will never forget.

Before I knew it, our 10 weeks together had flown by, and it was time to start thinking about my next steps. Thankfully, I didn’t have to look far, as I received an opportunity to work part time for Wray Ward while I finished school in the fall. Shortly after my December graduation, I transitioned into a full-time role. And, thanks to my PR/Content team and fellow 2022 interns, I came to the table with newfound confidence and real-world lessons that still guide me today.

Applying the Skills

In my current role, no two days are the same. One day, I’ll work on social media content calendars for clients such as AZEK Exteriors, TimberTech or Huber Engineered Woods. The next day, I’ll pitch stories for Sunbelt Rentals. I love that I get to exercise a lot of different skills for a range of clients. It makes me excited and eager to come to work every day!

With fresh projects and tasks coming my way each week, I’m required to call on my internship learnings to better engage with clients and understand their unique needs. Day in and day out, I get to learn from and collaborate with passionate, seasoned professionals. It’s a true gift.

I’m proud of the small but mighty milestones I’ve already achieved at Wray Ward, and I can’t wait to see how I continue to grow both personally and professionally.

Dear future intern:

If you’re applying to the FORM internship, consider these three tips that I prioritized as an intern and have since brought to my full-time role:

1. Ask questions and seek advice — be a sponge.

2. Be open to feedback and constructive criticism — it makes you better.

3. Go out of your comfort zone and network while you’re here.

    The relationships you build here and the memories you make could impact the trajectory of your entire career. Remember, everyone you meet at Wray Ward is on your team. They want to help you grow and learn.

    Are you interested in making FORM part of your story? Applications to join the class of 2024 open on November 27. Learn more and submit your application by January 19.

    Explore more articles from Wray Ward.