Hello, my name is Ian Wolfe, and I am a rising senior at Wootton High School. I had the fortunate opportunity this summer to intern at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) through Summer RISE (Real Interesting Summer Experience), a unique way for students to experience the workforce in order to make decisions about their future. I was interested in marketing and communications, and was placed within that department at USG. I thought this would be a great way to experience the day-to-day life of this industry in a professional setting. While school can teach you technical skills, the only way to learn how to function in an office is to actually work in one.
When I first walked through the building I was intimidated by the idea of being in an office, having never worked in that type of environment before. Nevertheless, these three weeks have flown by. Everybody I met has been extremely nice and welcoming, always saying hello or good morning with a smile. My manager and the other members of the marketing team answered any questions I had, and went in depth about their daily tasks and what it’s like to work in marketing and communications. I was given a wide range of projects so I could fully experience all aspects of marketing like market research, planning and filming videos, interviewing, and writing (check out my previous blog post here). The area of marketing that I like the most is the creative input that you are able to add to your work. As a creative guy it was cool to flex those muscles and make the work feel more personal.
Additionally, as a future college student, it was very interesting to draw back the curtain on all of the small details and tools that are used to target prospective students. From the font on the title of a poster to the music in the background of a video, there are so many factors that can influence someone to click on your website or like a social media post.
Barely a high school senior in an adult’s world, I expected to be isolated in a cubicle to work on my projects with the occasional walk down the hall for a question here and there. However as I would come to find out this was not the case. From taking part in meetings, I was able to feel included in the team which really helped me feel more comfortable around the office. Through giving a presentation, I was able to practice my public speaking. While I was nervous the entire time, I noticed that the ‘fake it till you make it’ mantra is actually real. Even if you’re nervous, speaking with confidence will change your mindset, and sell your idea better as well. To my surprise, I had the amazing chance during my second week to tour the new BSE building still under construction (scheduled to open the fall). With modern classrooms, advanced science labs, and a full dental clinic, it made me wonder what college may be like for my kids, or grandkids.
All in all, I had an amazing experience interning at USG, and would recommend every high school junior or senior to apply for Summer RISE. This type of program over the summer can be really influential for college, in that if you think you’ve already decided your major it can really cement that decision for you. In my case, this has cemented my decision to major in marketing as I really enjoyed all of the projects I worked on. Before this summer, I only knew USG as the place where I took my AP exams. But after this memorable episode I will remember it for much more.