Valuable experience lives outside your comfort zone

By Sarah Stubbs

Whether you’re studying medicine or theater or computer science, you’re not just here to earn a degree, but also to gain valuable work experience.

In case you didn’t know, The University of Findlay has an Internship and Career Placement office that can help you with anything from resume building to prepping for your first interview. The office is even equipped with faculty who specialize in certain content areas. For example, I consult Alexis Currie, because she works with the College of Liberal Arts students most frequently.

I’m currently in my second semester of my junior year and I am officially two weeks in at my first paid internship. Not only am I a Writing Center Tutor and the editor of the Pulse, I have now also adopted the title: Communication and Marketing Intern for the Hancock County ADAMHS (Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service) Board.

Last summer I interned with an arts and culture magazine in my hometown of Akron, Ohio on a pretty party-time basis, but now I’m in a paid position with a set schedule performing tasks I honestly didn’t see myself doing.

Anyone who knows me (or even follows me on Twitter) knows that I am dead-set on pursuing a career in journalism. I want to tell stories. I want to pitch story ideas, investigate touchy issues, and embed myself in a community. That being said, I wasn’t going to consider any internships that weren’t news reporting-related.

Now that I’m looking back, I realize that was pretty silly of me.

Thankfully I had Alexis Currie and my communication major adviser, Diana Montague, PhD., to help guide me and bring me to the opportunity that I am living: getting paid to perform meaningful work for an important service in the Findlay community.

Since I’m still so new, I still don’t know the nuts and bolts of ADAMHS or the exact impact it’s had on Findlay’s community, but I know that it’s such an important service and I hope that I can help market their mission even farther than it already has been pushed.

For 12 hours a week, I am working on revamping the ADAMHS board’s social media presence, designing posters and other various content for the website, conducting marketing research, writing newsletters, and eventually presenting on social media marketing and strategy to my fellow non-profit coworkers.

Even though I’m not breaking news, I’m getting to use the skills that I’ve acquired from non-journalism and non-English classes I’ve taken (such as Introduction to Digital Design) and I get to work on creative projects that aren’t necessarily writing-based.

My first couple of assignments have been challenging – and I’m definitely learning a lot of what I do on-the-go – but I am having so much fun. I could not be more excited about the projects that I’ll be working on and have already finished.

Thank goodness for the caring guidance that I have at UF. If it weren’t for the little push and conversation from Currie and Montague, I don’t think I would’ve left my comfort zone.

I’m fortunate to be able to practice my writing and leadership skills as I take on stories I think are important to the UF community with the Pulse, but now I get to be creative in a different way, too. I’m actually be using my (new) graphic design and (developing) social media skills for projects that impact a larger community and aren’t just for a grade in the gradebook.

I’m eager to get the most out of this experience as possible. One of my goals is to learn more about the Findlay community and how the University fits in with the challenges Hancock County faces. So yes, even though I’m not breaking news, you better believe I will find stories that need to be told.

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