I’ve had this post half-written on the back end of the blog for almost two weeks, because life suddenly got busy. I’m finally revisiting it, because I’ve had a chance to think about this.
I have been an intern since I was 17. I took my first internship at Futureceuticals during my senior year of high school. I was the “media intern.” Essentially, I spent several hours at a time putting marketing material into folders for trade shows. Over time, I developed a relationship with the gentleman who was running the e-commerce department. My position was shifted to the e-commerce department, as he had need for help in graphic design. He became my first professional mentor. Suddenly, I was entrenched in interactive marketing, and the rest of the story seems like a series of intricate domino patterns, twisting and turning to fall down into a very specific and absurd pattern.
One chain of dominos has made its final falls. A few weeks ago, I had my last day at the North Central College Office of Marketing and Communications.
A few words come to mind: bittersweet, reflective, relieving…but this is more than a last day at a job.
This is the last internship I will ever have had. I interviewed for it freshman year, and had been there since. There, I’d had a mixed bag of responsibilities, including video editing, social media work, content management, web coding, writing, and office odd jobs. It isn’t the traditional internship, with a fixed amount of time. But, on paper and in conversation we were referred to as “interns.”
I’ve written in the past how my status as an intern became a part of my identity, and what that mean for me as a student and professional. I’ve shared deep sentiment about the value that the title had for me, and the woulda-coulda’s of expressing gratitude for the nickname of “Kelly the Intern” when I had the chance. Now, I think about the fact that I’m no longer “the intern” and I realize it’s time to start thinking for the future.
I have no problem thinking ahead. I have plans, hopes, aspirations, intentions for my time left as a student, but mostly an excitement at the blank canvas that is my life. I’ve always considered myself an artist, so that metaphor fits me, I feel. My future is a blank white slate waiting for me to add splashes of beautiful color. There will be parts of it that include the dull grays and the darker tones, but I feel that it’ll all come together into a work of art that I can be proud of.
The experiences I’ve had as an intern have shaped me both as a person and a professional. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be. I had trial by fire and figured out a direction to start in with my career. I cemented my passion for agriculture and my desire to work alongside the people who grow our food and other raw goods here in North America. I learned that I had a love for giving a voice to those who haven’t found their yet. And while I have a better definition of my qualifications and qualities, there’s still a big question: who do you become when you stop being who you were?
Am I Kelly the Professional? Am I Kelly the Adult? Kelly the Soon-to-be-College-Graduate? Kelly the Starving Freelancer? (Seriously. Someone please feed me real food. I can only sustain myself so long on cafeteria food and ramen noodles…)
Maybe I’m just becoming the Kelly I was always meant to be, and Kelly the Intern was just a stage along the way. Yeah, I think that’s how it goes.
I’m Kelly. And I’m a lot of things. “Intern” just isn’t one of those things anymore. And I’m okay with that.
Organizations and Individuals Mentioned in this post:
North Central College: Website
Janice Person: Blog, Twitter
Mark Gale: Twitter
AgChat Foundation: Twitter, Website
Charleston|Orwig: Blog 1, Blog 2, Twitter, Website
AdFarm: Twitter, Website