Fayettechill; a word that surrounded me for four years, but it wasn’t until my last semester of college that I fully understood what it meant. When I reached out to the Media and Marketing Director, Devin O’Dea, and asked for a marketing and public relations internship, I had no idea the impact it was going to have on me as an individual. My initial thoughts going into the internship were that I just wanted experience. I wanted to understand how a company was run; I wanted to see marketing strategies build up from square one. But as I come to the end of my six-month journey at Fayettechill, I can confidently say I have gained so much more.
When Devin told me he wanted me to help create a public relations mechanism for the company, I went into full panic mode. I thought to myself, “I’m a college student with zero PR experience. How in the world am I supposed to accomplish this?” After I was able to wrap my head around what seemed like a very daunting task, I took the idea and ran with it. I spent countless hours Googling, reading and talking to my PR professor to try and gain a better understanding of what I was supposed to be doing. Every week I went into work with a new piece of information and by the end of the six months, we were able to bring the PR mechanism to life. I was also given the responsibility of helping run the social media accounts, writing blogs, organizing media and helping out with day-to-day Fayettechill tasks.
I loved getting the opportunity to help create media. It allowed me to tap into creativity I didn’t know I had and express ideas through words and pictures. It pushed me to think outside of the box. Being the structured person I am, it was foreign to me to have the freedom to make things my own. Even through my minor freak-outs and countless questions, I never felt as though Devin or Ashleigh, Fayettechill’s Marketing Manager, ever lost faith in me. They were always there for support, to push me, and to help me think in ways that were out of my comfort zone.
Being pushed out of my comfort zone was one recurring factor working at Fayettechill. I was thrown in charge of putting together and running a promotional booth at the Earth Day festival for the university, and forced to attend sunrise yoga at Devil’s Den! Okay, I may not exactly have been forced, but when you’re asked what you’re doing at 5:30 a.m. on a Friday, you don’t have many excuses to say no!
I never knew what I was walking into going the office every week. It seemed like every day Devin had a new project in the works. As someone who thrives on schedules and structure, I don’t always do well with spontaneity, so coming into work was always an adventure. I was able to work with incredible companies and non-profit organizations, met some amazing people, and had some of the most thought-provoking and interesting conversations. There was never a dull moment.
Working at Fayettechill has helped me gain a newfound confidence. It has taught me to slow down and enjoy the simple things, to celebrate the little wins in life, and to enjoy the beauty of nature that constantly surrounds me. For those of you who are graduating or starting a new chapter in your life, I urge you to choose adventure, and say yes to testing the limits. Do something that scares you, and don’t let your comfort zone have control over you. So to everyone at Fayettechill, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for accepting me for me, helping me grow as an individual, pushing me out of my comfort zone, and providing me with the most challenging and fun last semester of college.