As my college experience at the University of North Florida was coming to a close, I was starting to consider pursuing a career in public relations. The problem was that I majored in journalism and only had journalism internships. I had no idea what public relations was outside of what I learned in an introductory PR class. I knew I had to do an internship and fill that void with real experience. That is how I ended up at Axia Public Relations. I was met with quite a few surprises.
In journalism, my relationships with my editors were always one-way. I would write something and send it in, then get it back edited ready for me to make changes and send in again. While I could suggest story ideas to my editor, I never felt like I was on a “team.” It never felt like we were friends (or colleagues) working towards a common goal. That is one of the things that surprised me at Axia. Despite being an intern that they are free to boss around, they choose to treat me like part of the family. I know about all of their personal lives and their hobbies. I know where each of them grew up and what teams they root for in sports. Instead of working for them, I feel like I’m working with them and that makes it so much more rewarding.
Another thing that surprised me was how much work a team can get done when they communicate. I learned in school that public relations at a firm is very fast-paced and that I would have to learn to multi-task. I can honestly say that is the case at Axia. With multiple clients and work being done for all of them, it would seem like an insurmountable task to actually do enough to make everyone happy. The team here passes with flying colors. Using cloud technology, everyone is connecting whether people are in the office or not. Instead of having printed papers and Microsoft Word documents flying in every direction, Axia’s system ensures the highest level of efficiency without anyone getting in each other’s way. It’s hard to describe and amazing to be a part of. It is remarkable how much work a team can get done when they are all great at their jobs, and have a system in place that supports them.
The final thing that surprised me in my internship at Axia is how much everyone trusts me. There was no initiation process or coffee runs to prove myself. I was literally writing a news release on the first day of interning here. They saw my skills and immediately gave me the chance to use them. If I mess up, it would not be my head on the chopping block, and they trust me to do all kinds of tasks anyway. I have written news releases, pitched stories to media outlets and even written the draft of a bylined article that ended up in a magazine. I never thought I would get this much out of my internship here and that all stems from the trust they put in me.
Looking back, I can honestly say I’m glad I took this internship. I was met with many things I had never seen before. With the support and help from the team at Axia, I quickly learned how to do things and was always able to complete my tasks. There were many surprises and none of them were bad, due to a great support system. Internships really are the best way for someone to make the transition to public relations.
About Marty Nemec
Marty graduated from the University of North Florida in August 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Journalism and Production. Before interning with Axia Public Relations for five months, Marty worked for Clay Today and Folio Weekly.