April 30th marked the last day of National Internship Awareness Month; a day where interns can reflect on the short, but hopefully sweet time they’ve spent at their company. Interning is more than dipping a toe into the water of the working world; it’s a right of passage and a means to full-time employment. One report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) concluded that 66.4 percent of 2019 graduates who worked a paid internship ended up receiving a job offer — as compared to the 43.7 percent of unpaid interns who were offered a job.
For some of us here at Dirigo Collective, our last internship ended years — sometimes decades ago — so the memories are hazy. We figured, what better way to get the first-hand report of a freshly-finished internship than by tapping our very own intern, Rachel Flannery, for questions, advice, and valuable life lessons.
Dirigo Collective: Let’s talk about how you got involved with Dirigo Collective.
Rachel Flannery: I was trying to find different design and marketing agencies in the Portland area and stumbled upon Dirigo Collective. It caught my eye because, I mean — your brand colors are pink and I love the color pink! I vibed with it. So, I saw that you guys were looking for a marketing intern, and was like, ‘hey, I could do that, probably!’ and I did.
DC: What was your impression of internships before you started here?
RF: I worked at this place last summer where I was a design intern. I don’t like to talk about this internship, because it was kind of a scam, but I was a book illustrator intern at this place in Texas. They just wanted free art. I mean, I benefited from it, but I could have benefited more just coming straight to Dirigo Collective. I feel like I’ve really grown as a designer.
DC: Did you feel like you were taken outside your comfort zone?
RF: My major is illustration, which is not exactly design, but I wanted to learn more about design because I knew I wanted to go into that world when I graduated. So, I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone of illustration and line animations by working so much with social media, design and carousels for Instagram. I really feel like that was what I was looking for.
DC: Did you find it difficult to strike a balance between school and this internship?
RF: For me, it felt like it came together. I’m actually part-time, because I only needed three classes to graduate and this was one of them; I’m getting class credit for this.
DC: Give me one or two valuable lessons that you took away from this internship.
RF: I think one of the biggest lessons is to just work on being comfortable. I’ve always been a shy person, so I was afraid to ask questions. I didn’t want to seem like I didn’t know what I was doing, I guess. I didn’t want to seem dumb or unqualified because that was something I was worried about, but I mean… if I wasn’t qualified, then I wouldn’t have been hired. That’s what asking questions is for.
What were some of your favorite projects that you worked on?
I really liked working on this last project that I was doing the Responsibly Different backlog of episodes — the first 12 episodes. I felt like it was something I knew how to do in theory, but I actually had fun doing it and thinking of different ways and ideas to represent that company.
What’s some advice for college students applying to internships?
This is something that I’ve thought about a lot — especially now that I’m applying to a million different jobs. In my head, I always repeat: the worst that can happen to you is that they say ‘no.’