Don’t be afraid to take an internship after graduation if your employer supports your growth

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[Note: This is part of our first person series. Submit your own experiences and views. Khari Pressley is a recent college graduate interested in a communications career.]

Four years flies by. One minute you’re moving into your freshman dorm, and the next minute you’re walking across the stage and crying inside because you’re still unemployed.

A lot of my friends secured jobs in March, and the pressure to get a job was real. But I wanted more fine-tuning before I started my career. Plus, I had never worked at an ad agency and wanted to know what it was like before I decided to start my career at one.

I was an advertising major at the University of Georgia and wanted to build my portfolio.

So, I put my name in the ring for Wray Ward’s FORM summer internship program.

I applied to FORM last summer and didn’t get one of the coveted six spots, but that didn’t stop me from applying again. You can’t hate a guy for trying, right?

This year, my luck turned around. I was excited to try agency life, but all I knew about ad agencies is that some of them have ping-pong tables. I haven’t played ping-pong at Wray Ward this summer, but I get to wear a T-shirt and Vans to work, so that’s a win.

Working at an award-winning agency fresh out of college challenged me to step up to the plate. I didn’t want choke like the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl.

I’ve leveled up my writing skills and seem to have figured out the method to the madness of writing good copy. I can go from writing for a 56-year-old contractor to writing for a 33-year-old stay-at-home mom. I keep a toolbox and car seat in my Buick to stay in character.

While I’m grateful for my undergraduate education, experience is the best teacher. Remember group projects? Yeah, they’re still a thing in the real world, but here, they’re actually a group effort. I was lucky to learn the ropes with five other talented interns.

Now that I wake up at 7 a.m., I’ve learned to like coffee, similar to how I acquired a taste for cheap beer in college. Waking up early is a way of life in the real world, good thing a pot of Starbucks is always brewing in the Wray Ward kitchen.

Working every day has taught me how to prioritize assignments and engage in creative meetings. There are great ideas flying all over the place at Wray Ward, and I love being in the mix.

To my fellow college grads and grads-to-be, don’t be afraid to take an internship after graduation, especially if it is with an employer that supports your growth.

I’m thankful for this crash course before the actual thing. Cheers to adulthood!

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