When I told my parents that I accepted a position as an intern in Stone Ward’s Camp Reality program this summer, to say that they were less than thrilled would be an understatement. While my parents support me in everything I do, they had the typical parental concerns. Especially considering I had just graduated from college and would be putting off full-time employment for this experience.

“How will being an intern be a good experience? You could be finding a good, stable job somewhere!” I heard over and over again. My mom had the typical maternal concerns, wondering how I would be able to drag myself out of bed in order to get to work on time (I promise I was on-time every day this week, Mom).

Little did they know, this was the most beneficial thing I could have pursued.

One thing I found while searching for a “real job” was that everyone wants someone with experience. The dreaded barrier between my fellow graduates and full-time employment seemed insurmountable and held me back from being considered for several jobs I applied for. So I did what anyone in my situation would do – I took an opportunity to get some real experience at one of the top agencies in Little Rock.

Being at Stone Ward for one week has been eye-opening and life changing. I am in the presence of some of the foremost professionals in the industry and the most creative individuals I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

I had no idea what to expect from this program, and I had no idea what was going to be expected of me. When I thought about interning, I always thought I’d be doing the grunt work: grabbing coffee, writing things that don’t matter, and doing the menial tasks you associate with internships.

I was wrong.

From the very beginning, I was embraced as a part of the team. I’m working on real client work, going to creative meetings, sitting in on client calls, and being loaded down with as much work as people will trust me with.

The Camp Reality program here is appropriately named, and I am so humbled to have been selected for this opportunity. I am learning so many new things every day that are setting me up to be successful in a full-time role somewhere, an experience you can’t get anywhere else. I’ve also learned that sometimes, when you do a really great job, there’s pie. So that’s cool, too.

To any of you out there considering an internship, my advice is this: Do it. Sitting in a classroom learning about how the business works will only help you understand so much. Actually seeing an agency in action is an invaluable experience.

The energy here is an incredible thing to get to witness and be a part of, and if the first week of this internship is any indication of what’s to come in the remaining seven, I am in for a great experience.

I’m excited to continue being a student at Stone Ward and look forward to continue building good in my time here.