by Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross
“The time has come” the Walrus said. “To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing wax — Of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.”
If you thought of Harriet The Spy upon reading one of my favorite quotes, bless you. You don’t even know how many marble notebooks I begged my mom to buy after I watched and re-watched that movie. In reality it’s from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.
I’m writing this post two weeks in advance so I can skip out on the dramatics and awkward turtleness of saying my goodbye. Although, I am sitting alone on the second floor in the Digital Operations Center jamming to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack – a tortuous love, musical melody.
With a semi-clear head, stupid mood music, I want to say thanks to my public affairs team and the rest of the American Red Cross North Texas Region family.
Internships are unpredictable. Will I be the coffee service? Will I learn anything? Is it going to be worth my time? What if the team doesn’t think I’m funny? How many times will I put my foot in my mouth? And more importantly, is this drive up and down the dreadful 35E going to kill me, slowly?
In the middle of the week and half way into the month of May, I drove to the Red Cross facilities in Dallas to get a run down on its social media giant, Radian 6. After I was escorted to the second floor, I had to Olympic-style maneuver my way to the communications and marketing team.
The amount of people dashing from one side of the room to the other, bumping into each other with pertinent information and questions over shadowed the loud noise of shuffling feet, was astonishing.
Every inch of the American Red Cross North Texas Region was armored in disaster relief operation gear. And I got a crash coarse in how to assist.
Two weeks later I was officially a part of the Public Affairs/Marketing and Communications team. And after week one I felt like I was part of the family. Well, a deeply in need of sleep, non-microwaved meal and disaster prone family. They were “DRO (disaster relief operations) wasted.”
Besides learning how to function through multiple disasters (which hello, is a great way to get familiar with crisis PR), I learned how to research for the marketing department. Who knew the analytics class in college was useful.
I got to further the organizational voice through social media, assist with volunteer coordination and brainstorm with the team for new outreach ideas – like in staff meetings, because I’m a big girl now.
I’ve got press releases down to a science and most importantly, I found my voice with online media. I needed material for my portfolio and boy-oh-boy do I have a stack to chose from! A bonus for each future graduate about to enter the real world. They publish your work! Eek!
I highly encourage students to interview for its internship program.You aren’t babied or hand held through projects. Every member of my team instilled trust with my work and took each of my ideas into serious consideration. A real gift because not all internships are as trusting.
I walk away from the Red Cross with an extra family, a new-found confidence in writing and an established spot in this crazy public relations world. I couldn’t be any more grateful, for serious.
This experience help mold my professional skills as well as my personal ones. I learned and grew in many ways I didn’t for-see before beginning my journey with the Red Cross. And I can confidently say I feel prepared for whats ready for me on the outside, as a post graduate!
Oh, and I didn’t die on 35E.