The real world, a concept that instills a chilling fear into almost every soon-to-be college graduate. For many college students, the closest they’ve been to the real world is attending their 8 a.m. classes; possibly the source of the fear or perhaps it’s fear of the unknown. Prior to my time spent interning with Camp Reality, the best expectation I had of the real world came from a Dolly Parton song, but my experience with Stone Ward has left me with an entirely different mindset.

More often than not, interns are expected to do busy work like making copies, getting coffee, or sorting mail. This is not the case at Camp Reality. Rather than learning how to make coffee or restock the snacks in the (amazing) kitchen, I was able to contribute to brainstorming sessions for national and international brands, learn how to input creative content into social management platforms, and much more. These opportunities taught me valuable lessons beyond just the concepts, but instead gave me a deeper understanding of working in an agency and the real world. Here are 5 non-job related lessons that I learned at Camp Reality-

1. Hating your job isn’t a requirement of the real world.
Can I get an amen?

If we have to work for the rest of our lives, shouldn’t we enjoy it? The passion among the employees of Stone Ward for their departments and jobs is eye opening. By being surrounded by people who pride themselves in their hard work and do everything at 110%, I developed standards for my future career that I will consider consistently.

2. Don’t sell yourself short.
“You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”

It’s very easy, especially as an intern, to feel inferior in comparison to your other coworkers. I myself, am guilty of this and throughout Camp Reality I have realized the effects this has. When someone sells themselves short, they allow the opportunity for others to think less of them also. It’s important to be confident in your actions so that others will be more likely to be confident in your abilities. In the beginning of my internship, I found that I often would end a suggestion or comment that I had with statements like “but I could be wrong” or “it might be a bad idea, it’s just a thought” and I quickly learned that this is no way to gain trust and respect in the workplace. Instead of apologizing for a potentially dumb idea, I’ve learned to wait for the opinions of others before selling myself or my idea short.

3. Early is on time and on time is late.
There’s no time for tardy slips in the real world.

Agency life is fast paced and constantly changing and if you’re late to a meeting, you WILL miss something. It’s important to respect your coworkers’ time and to consider others’ schedules rather than just your own. As an intern, it’s crucial that you show appreciation for the meetings and other events that you’re invited to, and a great way to prove interest is punctuality. Even outside of the business world, when someone is late, it’s easy for the other party to feel like their time isn’t important.

4. Make plans and get out after work.
Plans between you and your friends, not you and your couch.

Odds are that a student fresh out of college looking for a job will move to a different place and whether this place is 1 hour away or 15 hours away, getting involved is key. At the beginning of Camp Reality, I found that it was very hard to find the motivation, after working all day, to commit to plans because let’s be real, working can be exhausting, but when I did build up the strength to follow through with plans after work, it paid off. The employees at Stone Ward are always excited to head to the Bark Bar or to Kilwins after work for a late afternoon treat and as simple as these activities seem, it causes a significant growth in relationships among coworkers. Here you can find some potential activities to consider for after work fun. By getting involved in simple outings, I was able to view Little Rock in a different way. I now understand why everybody really loves Little Rock!

5. It’s okay to start from the bottom, as long as you never lose the urge to rise to the top.
Is Drake writing this blog?

Some of the best success stories come from those who start at the bottom and give their all to make it to the top and everybody’s version of this “top” may be different. For an actress, the “bottom” might be an internship at a small production company and the “top” might be winning an Oscar. It’s up to each individual to decide their goals and work to achieve them. Through Camp Reality, I have been shown that in order to get a foot in the door, you might lose a toe and that’s okay. I’ve learned some of my strengths and also my weaknesses that I plan to use as I push my way into the business world and I’ve made connections that I am very thankful for.

Prior to Camp Reality, I never imagined I would learn information beyond my assigned department. This experience has provided me with skills and resources that I wouldn’t trade for anything and not many interns can say that. Camp Reality went above and beyond an average internship and exceeded every expectation I had. I never thought I would be sad finishing my internship, but Stone Ward truly is one of the best places to work!

This blog post was written by talented Camp Reality social intern; Laura Kate Hollingsworth