It hadn’t hit me until I arrived in DC and met the rest of my cohort that I was completely unprepared for my internship. I had no background in communications and it didn’t bother me until I heard the people in my cohort talk about their PR majors and jobs as social media managers. Suddenly, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and was worried how the next 8 weeks would go. I put all of my eggs in one basket and this was the only internship I applied to. It sounded like the perfect fit for me, and I was over the moon when I got the call saying I was accepted, but now I was worried I was underqualified. I realized that I barely knew what communications was, let alone public interest communications.  

No one made me feel inferior for my lack of experience, however. Everyone around me was dealing with their own nerves and we reassured each other that we were picked for a reason. Before starting our internships, we underwent a communications bootcamp and there, I learned the basics of communications and finally had an understanding of the work I’d be doing. I was able to get a better picture of the world I’d be jumping headfirst into and I became excited about what the near future would hold. The fellowship wanted to see us succeed and provided us with all of the tools we needed. I had no idea what exactly I’d be doing at work, but at least I finally had the foundation I was missing.  

What I want to get out of this internship is simply broadening my horizon of different career paths, and my time at the National League of Cities (NLC) has given me the opportunity to do that. At NLC, I am working with the Digital Engagement, Marketing & Communications (DEMC) team, and within that team, I am shadowing the liaisons between DEMC and other teams at NLC. So far, I’ve worked with the Federal Advocacy (FA) and Membership team and will be working with Leadership, Education, Advancement & Development (LEAD) and Center for Municipal Practice. While shadowing these liaisons, I get to see how vast communications is and how it can be applied in different ways. Each team has different goals and priorities, but still needs communications to properly convey their message. From creating blogs and social media posts to sending out emails, making sure you are marketing towards the right audience using the right means is critical to a successful campaign. So far, I’ve created a media list of those who covered the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) East Palestine, Ohio investigative hearing on the February train derailments to publicize NLC’s Interactive Rail Safety Map to work towards preventing further train derailments along with various social media posts and emails regarding upcoming webinars and events. Everyone at work is so kind and answers all of my communications questions as they arise, and with their support, I feel much more comfortable with the work I’ve been doing. Though I started this internship feeling insecure about where I was going, by being open to learning and not letting my doubts consume me, I am proud of what I’ve achieved this past month.