Tips and Tricks for Surviving a Summer Internship


Summer is the time for rest and relaxation, but it is also a great time for college students to gain valuable work experience and network with accomplished professionals. Holding a successful summer internship can help pave the way to your post-graduation career or even help you land that dream job. PRISMites have spread out across the country at various internships to put their skills to the test and learn more about their potential careers before joining the workforce after graduation. Here is some advice from PRISMites to help you nail that first summer internship.

Amanda Tinkleman, PRISM CMO


Amanda is working as a Digital and Social Intern at RedPeg Marketing in Alexandria, VA. As an intern, she is already working on important assignments such as writing case studies and designing social media strategy.

What are you gaining from your internship? “From my internship, I’m learning how experiential marketing really works. I’ve never really seen the behind-the-scenes of what it takes to create an event – I’m used to seeing just the final result. It’s really cool seeing what all goes in to launching a nationwide tour or even just putting on a gala from production to hiring to social strategy.”

What questions do you think interns should ask their supervisors? “If one day you want a job like your supervisor's, definitely ask them how they got to where they are today. People have such interesting career paths––you never know until you ask. For example, my manager went to culinary school before she found her way to marketing.”

Darius Boles, PRISM CMO


Darius is spending his summer in the Big Apple as an account management intern at Publicis. He is working hard and learning a lot but relocating for an internship has been challenging in and outside of the office.

What do you wish you had known before starting your internship? “Something that I wish I had known before starting the internship is how to not sweat so much. I literally walk into work so sweaty sometimes because it can get really hot in New York and I mostly walk to work.”

How do you deal with challenges or doubts in your internship? “I deal with doubts and challenges by trying to stay confident. It's easier said than done, but I think in internships you will encounter a lot of uncomfortable situations, but you just have to be confident and know that these people chose you for a reason.”

Keagan Joyce, Pamplin Account Manager


            Keagan is interning at Alliance Group in Richmond, VA. She is bringing the knowledge she’s gained from PRISM to the company by assisting in writing and editing, helping with outreach events, and gathering important information that is crucial for the company’s public messages.

What do you wish you had known before starting your internship? “I definitely was not prepared for the 9-5 work day lifestyle. I had held jobs each summer, but none were in an office setting for the whole day. It was just something to get used to – ‘adulting’ is hard!”

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting your internship? “Always respond to emails. It is so important to let your coworkers or boss know that you have received a message and understand it. Even if it is just your boss suggesting you read an article, send back a ‘thank you’ email.”

Noah Autry, PRISM Multimedia Team


            Noah is relocating to Boston, MA for the summer as an Account Services Intern at MullenLowe. Working on big name accounts like Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Burger King, Noah is responsible for qualitative research, scheduling, attending production shoots, and updating status documents for clients and internal teams.

What do you think you’re gaining from your internship? “I'm gaining valuable real-world experience – both in that for the first time I'm living on my own in a new city as well as professionally. Everyday there is something new to learn or do. One thing I've realized is that even a 'sexy' job like advertising takes a lot of work and self-motivation and caffeine and people skills and patience and curiosity and trust and confidence to do it well.”

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting your internship? “Be weird.”

Maggie Vaughan, Smithfield Account Manager


Like Darius, Maggie is living in New York City this summer as an Account Management Intern at BBDO working on the HealthWork accounts. In this branch of BBDO, she works closely with all 7 Pharma account teams to produce quality work for the company’s pharmaceutical clients.

What questions do you think interns should ask their supervisors? “I think interns should ask their supervisors questions any time they are stuck. I try to get as far as I can in the project, and have clear questions written out to ask. I have found that it does a lot more good to send a quick email or run over to my manager's table to make something clear rather than wasting time trying to figure it out myself.”

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received since starting your internship? “Always pay attention to detail. I have taken this with me not only in work, but in life now. There are so many things you will miss or mess up on if you do not take the time to really soak in every last detail.”

Lauren LeHanka, Pamplin Account Manager

Lauren is working as a Media Intern for The Media Kitchen (TMK) in New York City. In this position, she is helping the company with their online content and social media and assisting in designing media strategies.

What questions do you think interns should ask their supervisors? “Obviously, many of the most important questions to ask are specific to the role, but I think it’s definitely important to ask for feedback. When you turn a project in, find out how it could’ve been better. Another thing that I think is important to find out is how they’d like you to communicate your progress with them. Some managers like to know every time you complete a task, and for others, touching base a few times a week is enough. I think understand where yours falls on that scale is crucial to developing a good working relationship.”

What has been the most valuable lesson or piece of advice you've received since starting your internship? “This week our CEO mentioned that you can’t always go on the ‘b’ of bang — meaning that it pays off to think through what you’re doing, and that it takes time to deliver quality work.”

Savannah Meredith, Pamplin Social Media Team

Savannah is working in the Nation’s Capital as a Marketing Intern for Studio Theatre. Her responsibilities include helping with social media strategy and preparing for the theatre’s 40th Anniversary Season.

What has been the most valuable lesson or piece of advice you've received since starting your internship? “Work hard but don't be afraid to have fun. When I first started I thought I was going to be slammed with work from 10-6, but there's also time to get to know your coworkers and other interns, and get to know your community.”

How do you deal with challenges or doubts in your internship? “Learning that it's OK to admit you don't know something and ask questions has been a great learning experience. Also knowing that if you make a mistake, it won't make or break you in the big picture.”

Alana Clark, Talent and Operations Team

Alana is a Marketing Intern at Amify this summer. In her position, she assists the Marketing Manager in daily tasks such as running social media accounts, working on the company’s rebranding campaign, and collaborating with the salesforce to find potential brand partners.

How do you deal with challenges in your internship? “Sometimes it’s tough just being ‘an intern’ in the office. It can be a downer sometimes but you have to take a step back and realize that everyone around me was in my position one day and now they are where they are because they put in the work and time. It also helps that I have made friends with the other interns in the office and if one of us gets down about something, we try and pick each other back up.”

What questions do you think interns should ask their supervisors? “I think it is really important to ask ‘what else?’ Showing initiative and the fact that you always want to be helping with something more is so necessary and can really help you get ahead. I did my best to always keep asking what else I could do and it got me an invite to a meeting with the CEO.”

Maddie Ide, PRISM Director of Copywriting

Maddie is working as a Marketing and Communications Writer Intern for LGS Innovations in Herndon, VA. In this role, she is creating and implementing social media strategy, writing copy for the company’s website, and assisting in developing marketing campaigns.

What do you wish you had known before starting your internship? “I wish I had known that it’s OK to look outside of marketing and advertising firms for marketing internships. Working at a cybersecurity company doesn’t sound as glamorous as working on big brands at a large advertising agency, but as the only intern in the marketing department, my voice is heard and my ideas are implemented. All internships will be great for experience – don’t limit yourself to what you think sounds best on paper.”

What has been the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received since starting your internship? “Write down everything you’re doing in your internship. I started doing this my first day and it’s helped me realize all that I’ve accomplished and learned here. It will also come in handy when I’m interviewing for other jobs because I will be able to speak specifically about what my role in this company was.”