Six interns, eight weeks. Put them together and what do you get?
Well, we’re not exactly sure yet. Admittedly, we still have a long way to go before we know the ins and outs of agency life. We can say we’ve learned a thing or eight since our first day, and that our lessons have extended past how to refill the coffee maker (although that, too, is important to those of us who are not yet morning people).
Coming from different colleges, states, countries and walks of life, the six of us will form (get it?) a team for the better part of this summer. We’ll tackle real clients and real problems while we try to soak up as much as we can from our surroundings.
Without further ado, here are the eight things we have already learned as Wray Ward FORM interns:
1. The FORM internship application was only the first of many opportunities to be creative.
Before we joined the 2017 FORM internship team, Wray Ward challenged us to submit an application that would be effective and eye-catching enough to set us apart from the crowd.
I was freaking out, because I wanted to take my words and my excitement for the job off the page but didn’t know how. Finally, I decided that I’d make an Instagram showcasing why I wanted the PR position and what I could bring to the table. I felt like it worked with the position, and plus, who doesn’t love Instagram?
Graphic design intern Maddy also got creative by making an interactive quiz that described her attributes and why she would make a good fit for the job.
HwangHah, our user design and development intern, interviewed at 3 a.m. because of the time difference between the U.S. and Hong Kong, where she was studying for the semester when she applied.
“I was super tired and rambling, and I thought I failed the interview,” HwangHah said. “Before I got the final call, I emailed (FORM internship supervisor) Rusty and told him I hadn’t done well on the interview, so I wanted to send a few more pieces of my work that I’d finished in finals to help my case. That same day, he called and told me I got the job.”
Khari, our copywriting intern, faced a different dilemma in his interview: he forgot his interview attire in Athens, where he went to college.
“I raided my fashion-challenged father’s closet and looked for anything that would come close to fitting me,” Khari said. “Needless to say, I pulled up in an oversized dress shirt and a golf tie, looking like an accountant who’d recently lost some weight. Thankfully, the outfit became a talking point we could all laugh about in the interview.”
Whether our application process felt like smooth sailing or was a little rough around the edges, we can all relate to Laura, the account lead intern, and her reaction to hearing she got the gig: happy tears and high-pitched, girly squeals (yes, even the one guy on the team, Khari). The application process was a whirlwind, but it was only the beginning of our summer internship experience.
From portfolios of work to video projects, the FORM application process reflects the creative spirit of Wray Ward, and we know it is just the start of our creative opportunities.
2. We have a talented team of people in our corner.
When we arrived at the office bright and early on June 5, Rusty greeted us. Rusty is Wray Ward’s photography director, but he is also an entire welcoming committee in one, complete with fresh scones and plans for activity-filled days.
“Rusty has been so great with introducing us to the company and the people,” HwangHah said. “It’s nice to know he’s the person we can talk to about anything.”
Each of us also has a supervisor and a mentor for the summer. They welcomed us to our various departments and helped us get started.
Ruijia, our video intern, had no idea where to start her first video project, but she didn’t have to find her way alone. “I was feeling lost, but my mentors have a folder full of fun videos. Watching those inspired me and gave me a place to start my project.”
All six of us walked in a little nervous about jumping into our new roles as interns, but we quickly learned that we have an office full of experienced and talented people who are here to support us and help us learn.
3. Wray Ward thrives on collaboration.
Wray Ward is a much more collaborative environment than any I’ve ever worked in. In the first few days, we got to learn about how the company functions, rather than focusing only on how it applies to us. I can already tell Wray Ward lives by their words of We Not Me, and that everybody cares about the big picture.
When it comes to collaboration, HwangHah already appreciates Wray Ward’s digital space, which she calls the creative cave. “UX designers and developers work in this little nook, because they are constantly collaborating to produce their work. Even though they’re working on individual projects, I can see how they are all a team.”
4. Real-life marketing can feel like a whole new world, even if you study marketing in school.
The first few days of the internship have been both exciting and challenging. We are already jumping into real-world projects that are brand new for us. Ruijia is scheduled to work on her first video shoot. HwangHah is responding to her first creative brief, a challenge she never faced on campus. Laura is stepping out of her comfort zone and trying to improve as a public speaker with her first project, a presentation.
“The first few days have been awesome,” Laura said. “It seems like there is a steep learning curve, but the staff is great at training and informing us. I feel like they’re preparing us well for all of the work we’re going to do this summer.”
As students with little real-world experience in marketing, all of us are stepping out of our comfort zones.
“I’m a photojournalism major, but I want to learn about video outside of the context of the news and see my passion from an agency perspective,” Ruijia said.
We hope to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom, but mostly, we will be learning from hands-on, real-world projects.
“I just want to get better at what I do,” Khari said. “I want to learn new methods and get as much real experience as I can.”
5. There are tons of places around the Wray Ward office to camp out and do work.
Each of us has our own spot in the office, but when we aren’t at our desks, there are plenty of other meeting spots to choose from. There’s the cozy Garage with its sofas and tables that are perfect for collaboration. The bright and comfortable Sunroom is a favorite to hang out for lunch or do some work in the softest chairs in the office. And of course, the nook-like couches in the creative area are perfect to set up camp and get work done. Each of us has already figured out our favorite place to go when we want to step away from our desks.
6. Our intern team is the definition of #squadgoals.
As a group, we will work closely together all summer on our super top-secret client project, gaining real-world experience. Beyond that, we’ve already got tickets to attend a Charlotte Knights game together in the coming weeks. We’ve had our first outing as an intern group for Taco Tuesday, a celebrated holiday. We’ve had some bonding moments, like on day one when Khari told a joke as I was taking a sip of water. (Unfortunately, he was in the splash zone and got sprayed. He was able to laugh it off, and it became a funny ice breaker.)
7. Wray Ward will give us the opportunity to learn and grow, and mess up.
Our first week at Wray Ward showed us that FORM is not-your-mother’s-college-internship: in place of fetching coffee orders and doing grunt work, we will be learning and growing from real marketing projects.
“I can already see I am going to work on things in real-life situations that I’ve never encountered before in school,” HwangHah said.
My own calendar is already full of meetings with different people around the Wray Ward office. These people are taking time out of their day to help with projects and provide a guiding voice as I get started. I am still on a journey to figure out what I want to do with my life and my career, so the lessons I gain from Wray Ward will be invaluable.
8. We still have a long way to go to reach our career goals.
We are excited for so much this summer, from trying new restaurants around Charlotte to working on our big project together, but mostly we are excited to come one step closer to reaching our career goals.
“You learn a lot in school, but you don’t know what it’s really going to be like until you get some real-world experience,” Laura said. “I want to get to know people around the office and pick their brains about their career paths and what has worked for them.”
Like Laura, Maddy wants to be a sponge this summer: “I want to get my hands on as many different types of projects as possible, work with a lot of people, and experience group collaboration on real client work, which goes beyond anything I learned during college.”
Looking back on our first week, we’ve already learned a lot. We haven’t just found our way around the Wray Ward office and attended meetings; we’ve also learned where we can get two-dollar tacos on Tuesday, that Project Management Director JR Rusek really loves the Red Sox, and that there’s nothing like watching an episode of Fixer Upper during lunch. But beyond that, we’ve learned that FORM will be everything we hoped and more, and that we will be constantly learning the rest of the way. And despite early wake-up times and morning traffic in Charlotte, we will go forward with these eight things in mind, ready to dig in and make the FORM internship our best summer yet.