Reality is defined as the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

Work full-time, take nine hours of summer class, visit nine states, follow a college sports workout plan, rehab a torn ligament, plan two major events and stay on top of everything else that life throws at you. That’s an easy summer, right? 

As a brand management intern in Stone Ward’s “Camp Reality” program, each day was challenging in its own way. My first day on the job required coming in by myself at 4:30 in the morning. I thought, “what am I getting myself into?” Eight weeks later, I can answer that question. 

I learned basic skills like writing marketing plans and creative briefs. I oversaw a digital advertising campaign from conception to completion. I observed the filming of three national television commercials. I got to experience the acquisition of a new client and the strategic development in building their brand. I got to prepare a Fortune 500 CEO for a national television appearance. I worked through the nitty-gritty of cooperative billing and competitive research. Above all, I experienced the dynamics of working in a corporate culture with as many different personalities as there were employees. For all of this, I am thankful. 

Millie and Larry, thank you for building a company and a program that allows students like myself to dip their toes in “the real world.” Lucie, thank you for taking the time to interview me and give me a chance to work at Stone Ward. Lauren and Mary Read, thank you for taking me in and showing me the ropes of Brand Management. I can sincerely say I learned something new every day, and I have you two to thank for that. Alix, thank you for organizing the Camp Reality intern program and easing our transition into the company. Last but certainly not least, I want to thank Coach Andy Schatzley, my assistant baseball coach at Harding. Thanks to him, I feel like I can do anything. 

Reality doesn’t have to be boring. Reality doesn’t have to punch a clock. Reality doesn’t have to make coffee, it can make a difference. This summer, I was inspired to do just that: make a difference. To everyone at Stone Ward, thank you for the opportunity!