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The Cork Tree Creative Experience: An Intern’s Perspective

By Amanda Junger

As a senior mass communications major at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I am required to complete an internship with a company in the greater St. Louis area. I spent upwards of six months refining my online portfolio and resume to prepare for the application process, anxious about this new step in my educational career. When I was offered an internship position with Cork Tree Creative, the wave of relief was shortly replaced by a knot in my stomach. I had no idea what to expect.

I joined the team in late August, shortly after their move to a larger office. Everyone was still trying to get used to having more space to move around in, busy unpacking the new furniture, and getting acclimated to the new phone system. Amongst all the commotion and hustle-bustle, I still received the most warm and genuine welcome. Every single person in the team took time out of their day to get to know me and see if I needed help with any of my tasks. I was amazed at how seamless my insertion into this office was; not once did I feel like an outsider.

During my first week, I worked heavily under Laura Reed, the Public Relations Director and Co-Owner of Cork Tree Creative. My laptop keyboard was warm with overuse, as I busted out press release after press release, blog after blog. I had always been a decent writer, having taken Advanced Placement English classes all through high school and college. However, I soon learned that writing for public relations purposes is very different from your run-of-the-mill college essay, and there was a learning curve involved in producing client-worthy pieces.

Not too long after, I tackled a slightly bigger task: creating social media calendars. Basically, we schedule posts for clients who want us to increase their visibility on social media. These posts can promote local events, serve as a reminder (such as daylight-saving time), or link to content appropriate to the client. The social media calendar for the St. Louis Dunkin’ Donuts branches required photos to be taken of the product in front of St. Louis landmarks. Going on this “Dunkin’ shoot” was so much fun, and really proves that a job within the mass communications world will never be dull.

More recently, I’ve gotten to work on graphic design pieces with Jan Carpenter, the Creative Director and other Co-Owner of Cork Tree Creative. This was simultaneously the most terrifying and gratifying experience of my life. It was so nerve-wracking having a talented and ambitious designer critique my work, as graphic design is what I am most passionate about. On the other hand, every piece of feedback I’ve gotten has helped me become a better designer, and I’m thankful for that.

Although my standardized education background leaves me yearning to finish this blog with “in conclusion”, I will instead leave you with this one piece of advice: change is scary, but don’t let that stop you from making the most out of life. I was terrified entering this internship, as it signified graduation to the “real world”. As it turns out, working at Cork Tree Creative has been the most wonderful experience, building my professional knowledge and confidence every step of the way. They taught me to work outside my comfort zone, and to not let anything (including fear of the unknown) get in the way of achieving my dreams. As Mark Twain once said, “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 

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