Reflection on an Internship Disrupted

By Reilly Welsh

The beginning of May signals the end of something else: my time here at RLF. As a senior in college, I envisioned the last month of the semester including many more “lasts.” The onset of COVID-19 here in the United States quickly derailed my plans for the final months of my senior year, and as a result, I have had to adapt to a variety of changes, especially in my academic and professional lives. Even so, my internship at RLF has been incredible and unlike any experience I have had before – for a variety of a reasons.

person at computerIn the middle of March, I prepared to travel home for spring break with plans to return to school the following week to finish out my spring semester. Within days, it became clear that flying back to North Carolina would not be safe for myself or for others. I made the decision to stay with my family while transitioning to online coursework and a remote internship.

Although I never could have envisioned my internship would play out the way it has, I could not be more grateful for my time at RLF. Despite spending half of my time working in a different state, I have continued to build upon my skill set each day. I’ve had various professional experiences over the past four years, and while I have grown from each one, I can say with confidence that my experience at RLF has been the perfect send-off as I graduate and look toward job opportunities. When I applied for this internship last fall, I could not have predicted how much this role would advance my abilities.

In my previous internships, I got my first taste of the public relations world, creating media lists, producing copy and content for social media platforms and working on the occasional press release. At RLF, I have done all of these things and more. I have pitched local and national media, written copy for radio commercials, written articles for client newsletters and blogs and crafted social media posts for RLF as well as its clients. As a journalism-turned-strategic communications major, writing has always been a passion of mine, and I knew I wanted it to play a central role in my career. I loved having so many opportunities to hone my skills in a variety of contexts.

Undeniably, this is a difficult and uncertain time to go into the workforce, with the job market taking an unexpected downturn in response to the onset of COVID-19. I do not know what is to come in the following weeks and months, but I feel confident knowing that my four months at RLF have strengthened my foundation in the world of communications. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to every member of the team at RLF for their guidance and support throughout the semester. I look forward to seeing how I will take what I have learned over the past few months into my next role as I begin my career.