I spent this summer working with Kentucky Utilities in Lexington for my KPA-sponsored internship. I worked in the Corporate Communications department and I have to admit, it was awesome to have the opportunity to see the education I have received at the University of Kentucky come in handy in real, on-the-job experience.
Not only was the internship an opportunity to see my education at work, it was an opportunity to advance my writing skills. So far, I have three published stories and have worked on four. It was very cool to get to attend events that other employees would read about a few days later. I actually even got to attend a news conference and write the story on the event for KU’s internal communications newsletter, the News Transmission.
One of my biggest involvements during my time at KU was working with The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Newspaper in Education program. The program holds a workshop every year to help assist Kentucky’s teachers in integrating their local newspaper into the classroom. KU has been the title sponsor of the Herald-Leader’s NIE program for 10 years. I helped set up the workshop and helped people find their way around The Herald-Leader building throughout the workshop. The teachers appeared to have a great time and left with helpful information for the upcoming school year. Afterward, I was able to write the article for the News Transmission that went out to all company employees.
After undergoing the editing process on all of the articles I wrote, I actually began to adapt to the company’s writing style, and I was able to see my writing improve. I stopped seeing a “sea of red ink” when I got my articles back from Louisville and started to see copy come back with very few edits on it. Improving my writing was definitely the most satisfying part of my time at KU this summer.
Aside from writing, I also was able to see what working in an office was like. My friends joke about “getting a grown-up job” after college and this was a fantastic opportunity to see what one looks like. For the past four years, I have been working in food service-which is a fast paced, low-wage and highly stressful area of the service industry. I was so used to running around and being on my feet for 10 hours at a time, that sitting in an office made me feel guilty! That guilty feeling was certainly my biggest hurdle throughout the internship, but eventually I settled in to my position in the department as work began to come in at a faster pace.
I was also given the opportunity to see what my supervisor, Cliff, does beyond the office. I was able to see first-hand the ways that the company does good for the communities it serves. I learned that communications goes beyond the desk, press releases and phone calls-it actually goes into the communities beyond the office walls. It was very refreshing to see this other side of communications at work and it helped me remember there are more ways to communicate than through the media.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience at KU this summer. I have been able to see that I am not just learning useless information at UK, but I am actually learning useful information that I will be able to apply in the future. My writing improved and I was able to see the type of job I will hopefully have after graduation. I will be able to tell future employers that I was paid to learn how the business works. I do not know another person that has had the opportunity I have had this summer to learn and fully immerse myself in communications to pull the most out of my opportunity.