Internships are a mandatory part of many college curriculum, and for good reason. Internships are a students opportunity to figure out what they like or dislike, what they’re good at or not-so-good at, what the professional workplace is like, how to build professional relationships, how to be a part of an organizational culture; the list of benefits goes on and on. For me, my internships did all of these things, the most important being that my first internship wasn’t what I thought it was going to be; it taught me a lot about myself, what I like, and how to navigate my future.

In September of 2019, I was fortunate enough to be accepted for an internship at goPuff, a Philadelphia-based company that delivers essentials like snacks, drinks, school supplies, pet food, and more, in less than an hour in over 170 locations across the country. My position was in the marketing department, in a sub-department for brand ambassador relations. My primary interest for a career at this point was marketing communications, but this internship showed me that I wanted to go in a different direction. For the first few weeks I really enjoyed my work, but after about a month, I realized I was completing the same three tasks every day. In addition to that, the three tasks I was completing were all data input and analysis, something I was not interested in and didn’t enjoy. These repetitive tasks really got to me over time, and by the end of October, I wasn’t excited to go to work anymore. I didn’t feel like I was learning anything, and I didn’t feel that I could take this experience and apply it to what I was learning at school. This was extremely disheartening for multiple reasons: I really thought marketing communications is what I wanted to do, everyone I had worked with and met at goPuff were awesome, I thought what everyone at goPuff was doing was cool and I wanted to support that, and I really didn’t want to leave.

I had grown quite fond of goPuff, and even though it was my first professional workplace situation, it felt like the absolute coolest place on the planet to work. Though I wasn’t enjoying my work, I really wanted to make things work at goPuff. I was extremely fortunate that, after my semester and internship in the marketing department had concluded, I was able to transfer and start a new internship in goPuff’s communications department. My semester working in the communications department is the best I’ve had. The things I was learning in school were meshing with the work I was doing in my internship, and I finally felt that the internship was enhancing the education I was getting at Arcadia. Along with the educational benefits, I really enjoyed all the work I was doing; not once through the semester did I dread a day of work. Every day was different, and I finally felt like I had found my place.

The point of this blog is to show you, the reader, that internships are not the end-all-be-all, internships are the opportunity for you to try something out and see if you like or not. In my case, I tried something out, decided it wasn’t for me, tried something new, and ended up falling in love with it. Internships help you understand what you want to pursue when the time comes for you to get a permanent job. My internship in the marketing department showed me what I didn’t want to do down the line, whilst my internship in the communications department showed me what I would like to do down the line. My advice: get as many internships as you can; try as many things as you can. If you find a place that you love, see if you can try something new there, while maintaining the bridges you built the first time around. Internships are extremely valuable and can seriously help you navigate your future.