Back in January, I remember walking into Resolute PR for an internship interview. My nerves were high, and all I could think about was, I hope I make a good first impression. At that point, I was a 20-year-old college student at the University of Oklahoma going into the second semester of Junior year. I had gone to many workshops about securing internships and how to make myself marketable to employers. As a student at OU, comparison can get the best of you at times. Everyone talks about the latest study abroad program they participated in, the philanthropy they are raising money for, or the internship they hope to secure. The question I had to ask myself was, how am I different? I thought back to a few of my past jobs and internships and realized that my top two strengths are building relationships with coworkers/clients and perseverance to push through to understand concepts better when it doesn’t click the first few times. I remember thinking, how am I going to showcase those strengths in an interview. I walked out that day, thinking, ‘oh, I could have done a lot better.’
The first week back after winter break and I am sitting in the career services center’s office telling Joe, the director, I NEED HELP! I had an interview two weeks ago; I haven’t heard back, and I don’t think I stood out. He tells me to apply, apply, apply, and continue to persist. Another week goes by, and I am sitting in the business college lobby when I received an email from Nicole, offering me a position. I was shocked! I am very grateful that she saw something in me and gave me a chance.
Then March rolls around, and OU announces that students will not be returning to campus due to COVID-19. I immediately start thinking about some of the plans I had made for the next few months. The ‘what if’ questions start to circle my mind. I knew that there was a chance I could lose my internship opportunity, as many of my friends had. About two months go by, and I receive an email from Nicole letting me know that she would still like to have me remotely. I felt relief that my hard work didn’t just go away in a blink of an eye.
Over the past two months, I have learned how to navigate this new world of virtual communication. Never did I imagine I would be interning remotely from a desk in my childhood home. Thinking back to my strengths of building relationships and showing perseverance, how would I showcase that over zoom calls and emails? The fighter in me would usually show up early, stay late, ask questions about clients, genuinely get to know my coworkers, fail a few times, and get back up working even harder.
The employees at Resolute genuinely wanted to make my experience as rich as possible. Account executive, Lacey Taylor, would meet with me for a coffee date every Tuesday over Zoom. We would talk about where we grew up, travel, our weekend lake plans, and presentations for clients she has presented. Lacey would explain the client and give insights on how she has strategized their campaign. Through our conversations, I was able to visualize and understand the whole process from point A to B. Over the summer, I learned that it is possible to build relationships over Zoom. Changing my perspective to an opportunity from growth from thinking this is not what I envisioned, made a world of difference. I gained a new mentor and friend out of the experience.
One of my favorite clients to learn about was the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. I have grown up in Tulsa and never heard about it before coming to Resolute. When the Port was initially explained to me, I thought, ‘Okay, this is a manufacturing plant with a barge system to transport commodities.’ I quickly learned that The Port of Catoosa is much more than that. The Port is part of Tulsa’s history and has contributed to our economic development. I listened in on a few Zoom calls with the Port educator, Shelia Shook, and could feel her passion for the development. Shelia described it as a place of opportunity for Tulsans to advance their careers. A career at the Port could lead to financial stability for so many citizens in our community.
Through working on The Port, I have learned that we become an expert in everything in PR and marketing agencies. It might not be instant, but after some research, you can better understand the industry. When tasked with writing social media content, I had no idea where to begin. I started to ask myself how the commodities that come in at the Port related to me through brainstorming. The Gavilan business’s grain shows up on my table as bread, cakes, and pastries. The steel coils that come in on barges are in home appliances. By breaking things down, I came to understand why the Port is essential.
One of my biggest fears coming to Resolute was the thought of having to write. I know this sounds crazy because I am at a PR & Marketing agency, but I came from a business college. Someway I have been able to dodge writing during my undergrad. I felt very under prepared when writing blogs became my first assignment. I started to research ‘how to write a business blog’ and ‘business blog topics.’ At that point, I was open to any suggestions from family and friends. I did not feel like I was an expert in any area to give my professional opinion. After much thought and research, I came up with a few ideas that pertained to things I had learned in class. I began writing and editing. I asked for coworkers’ opinions and finally came up with a few pieces of content. At the end of the day, I did not write an overwhelming about of content, but I became more confident in my ability to produce a piece for a client. Instead of freezing up, I powered through. I learned good things take practice, and it is okay to ask for help. I am not expected to be perfect 100 percent of the time, but growth occurs when I show perseverance.
As I finish my time up as a Resolute intern during a world pandemic, I can’t help but be grateful for the opportunity. Life is about perspective, and I choose to look for the good in all situations. I have learned that growth doesn’t happen overnight, and persistence speaks volumes. I encourage all undergrad students like myself a year ago to not give up. You are much more than what is on paper. The relationships that we build in the business world are invaluable.
Thank you to the Resolute team!