Sarah Smith, Intern Extraordinaire
COVID really ruined a lot of great things for me the past year or so. As a college junior and vice president of my University’s Ad Club I struggled getting students to attend virtual meetings and events because nobody wanted to spend more time on their computer than they already needed to for classes. My academia world became more difficult due to a lack of passion and interaction with classmates with similar goals as me.
My dreams of parties, bar happy hours, and sporting events also flew right out the window. My gameday tailgates at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee came to a sudden end when the NBA canceled the rest of their season in 2020; and to a 21-year-old Bucks fan that felt a lot like a brutal break up. As the pandemic grew greater and my social life shrunk, I also watched my job search for internships become far more complicated and difficult than I imagined it to be. No matter how many hours I spent searching LinkedIn and Handshake, I found myself in competition with over 100 candidates either equally or even more qualified than I was.
For one internship position, I had made it into the final rounds of the interview process and was super optimistic. I made the interviewers laugh and was confident in all my answers about why I would be a great addition to their team. My potential future bosses told me they loved my energy and that my personality was perfect for not only the position but their company too. Anyone would feel like they secured that job, right? Well, I sure did. Until I got that rejection call telling me they went in a different direction. I was surprisingly okay with the rejection because I gave it all I had and we all get rejected, right? I was still holding my head high post-rejection until I saw on LinkedIn who got the position; a 2018 college graduate with three years’ work experience in the marketing field at a large agency in Chicago.
Woah. Wait a second, now I am competing against college graduates for Summer Internships?! I was floored. No chance I could ever compete with that. As my job search continued, I found myself reliving the same exact scenario, interviewing, and losing the job to a college graduate with hefty industry experience. My friends even shared similar stories of them losing positions to these crazy overqualified individuals and all of us were in the same boat of feeling incredibly discouraged when looking for internships. Some even gave up and decided they would work full-time this Summer instead of getting more colorful rejections from various companies. Thankfully, I did not give up and did what every smart future businesswoman would do, I reached out to connections for insight on positions to apply for and to secure a killer recommendation.
That is where Brett and Explore comes into play. It was like the heavens above had it all planned out because right when I reached out, they were open to and considering hiring an intern. After a few calls with Mindy and Tatumn we all agreed it was a good fit to have me join the team for the summer. I danced around my room and celebrated the end of my internship search as well as landing an amazing opportunity and real-world career experience. Plus, any excuse to move out of Wisconsin for a short while sounded amazing to me. I had my bags packed seconds after I accepted the position.
Now here I am, a stereotypical northern 22-year-old girl living in Colorado for the summer and interning at the coolest office I have ever seen in my life. I knew this was the place for me when I locked eyes with the Justin Bieber life size cut-out, AKA the love of my life. Plus, the people here rock, I mean seriously they are the best. I think that is what has made all the rejections, frustrated college student tears, and hours spent driving through Nebraska and Iowa worth it. Had I gotten one of the other intern positions back home, I would have never been able to talk about Astrology with Mindy or go to happy hour with Tatumn and drink a few too many margaritas. All while learning the media buying industry. I quickly realized that trading in my Miller Lite for Coors Lite might not be so bad after all. Maybe I even prefer it….