The Ultimate Ride: End-of-Summer Internship Reflections

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    Agency Life

  • Date:

    August 03, 2018

The Ultimate Ride: End-of-Summer Internship Reflections



Agency Life

With the end of the 2018 installment of FORM quickly approaching, I asked my fellow marketing interns to describe their internship experience at Wray Ward in one word. Some found it inspiring, others challenging. But Madison, client engagement intern, gave perhaps the best answer: 

“Rollercoaster.” 

As I began to imagine this summer like the tall, steel structure of a coaster, I saw how the comparison perfectly captured our experience. I like to believe the FORM rollercoaster is a lightning-fast powerhouse, with enough sharp turns and loops to inspire white-knuckled grips on the safety bar. From the day our team stepped on board, we’ve pushed, climbed and, at times, experienced descents that made us want to close our eyes. 

For us to succeed, we had to embrace the challenge in front of us. After all, creating an integrated marketing campaign in eight weeks is no easy feat. We quickly learned that jumping in without looking back would be the best way to get the job done. Our mentors and supervisors gave us the foundation we needed to get started, but they left it up to us to bring the campaign to fruition.

We came up with ideas that we thought were groundbreaking, only to scrap them for something better a few days later. Our plans changed and evolved every day. Along the way, our campaign transformed from sticky notes and whiteboard scribbles to clean and crisp, shareworthy visuals for our client.

“If you’d asked any of the interns on day one if they thought our project would turn out to be like it is now, the answer would probably have been, ‘Absolutely not,’” said Kayla, graphic design intern. “Back then, we couldn’t imagine the twists and turns this project would take.” 

We had immense freedom throughout the process. This became the force behind our creativity and, at times, the cause of our frustration. At times, we would go to our mentors and ask, “Hey, how do I solve this problem?” only to hear, “I’m not going to tell you the answer, because I know you can figure it out.” 

We did figure it out — and thanks to our mentors’ encouragement and their trust in our ability to get the job done, we each grew in our skills. With every mistake, our campaign became a little stronger. And through long hours and those meetings where nothing seemed to go right, we still managed to stay on track. 

“If we had to do it over, we would do a million things differently because of the lessons we learned,” said Jason, copywriting intern. “But at the end of the day, I am proud of the final product — and that is what really matters, regardless of how many strong coffees it took to get here.” 

Along the way, we assisted with other projects that gave us an understanding of all that’s involved in the work that happens at a creative marketing agency. For example, our digital media intern, Hanh, got a crash course in paid media concepts, such as Google AdWords and programmatic, before she began applying data to the campaign we designed as a team. The pros in her department taught her the basics and became an expert resource for her throughout the summer. 

“I had to learn how to put together media recommendations — something I’d never done — which meant asking about 100 questions a day,” Hanh said. 

We each took what we learned from our departmental assignments and applied it to the FORM project. The work that comes out of this agency inspired and motivated our team, and it pushed us to hold our own campaign to a high standard.

“I took techniques from some of my design projects and composed a webpage for our campaign,” said Salomon, UX design and development intern. “When we started crafting our creative plans, I came up with ideas for an interactive landing page and how to incorporate motion into banner ads. My mentor helped me refine those concepts and integrate them into the site.” 

Together, we fostered a team-first mentality. “Our group dynamic evolved over time,” said Jess, video intern. “We came in as seven different personalities with different experiences and backgrounds, but we developed into a cohesive unit.” 

Although we faced plenty of challenges this summer, they are not the best way to describe our experience here. Instead, we’ll remember the packed lunch table, nights spent in the city and, most important, the shared feeling of accomplishment after weeks of hard work. The chance to smile and say, “I think we nailed it.” That’s what makes this internship stand out. It’s not just a job — it’s an experience.

Here’s the thing about any rollercoaster: once it leaves the loading area, you’re stuck on it until the very end. But if it’s a great experience, you may find yourself wanting to ride again … and again … and again. And here, at the end of the track, I know one thing for certain: we all wish we could go back and do FORM again.

It will be hard to top this summer. Nevertheless, it’s time for the next group of interns to conquer their coaster — and time for each of us to push on to the next challenge.