Depending who you ask, the word "internship" has a lot of different meanings. To a college advisor or professor, it's the lifeblood of a student's resume. To an employer, it may mean extra help or new perspectives. To some, an intern might even be a glorified coffee getter.
Internships are often the first real opportunity students have to figure out what they want to do in the real world. But to Spreetail, an internship is also an opportunity to invest in college students at one of the most pivotal times in their life.
As an intern and college student myself, internships are a whole lot of unknown. It’s important to have internships now, for the post-grad job search later. But accepting a summer internship can be a gamble. Will I be doing real work, or just completing the tasks the full-timers don’t want to do? Will it be paid, or will I spend 40 hours of my week earning a new line on my resume? Will I like the full-timers? Will they like me?
Every internship is different. Spreetail’s internship is really different.
Getting to work at Spreetail during such a pivotal time in the company’s growth has been an adventure that college students rarely have an opportunity to experience.
I won’t lie; adjusting to a full workday that starts before I normally wake up was a major change. I’ve never worked this much at anything. But I have a feeling that the ability to work at this level of intensity, this early in my career, has shaped me as a professional more than I can predict.
The pace of our training and how quickly we were up on our feet doing real work let us experience real life at Spreetail. I’m doing the same tasks as the Spreetailer sitting next to me and working on the same projects as the full-timers on my team. I work autonomously and independently, writing and completing listings without needing to get permission first. This ability to make real, working decisions is something that will empower us as interns far beyond this summer experience.
It’s also unique to have an internship at a company that invests in its employees, whether they’re a full-timer who has been here for three years or an intern who may only be here for three months.
Early in the summer, all the interns attended a leadership and personal development workshop that tight-lipped Spreetailers tout as “something you have to experience for yourself.” Even in a group of 30 — larger than the typical retreat size — we connected through intimate, emotional, and important conversations. We came in as a group of 30 peers who’d known each other for four weeks, and we left with deep connections, strong bonds, and a sense of trust in those who were on this journey with us.
But when I think back on this internship, the thing that will stick with me most are the people I got to be with each day.
I’ve been surrounded by full-timers who treat me like a regular coworker, while also supporting me in my professional and collegiate development. They give me advice, help me with my resume, and talk college football with me, just as much as they tag-team a project with me or ask me to help with an objective step.
I’m not sure who I’ll miss most after the company trip, the last hurrah for this internship experience. I will miss my fellow interns, especially the four other content interns I got to work alongside. The “conterns” — a name we gave ourselves that I’m not sure anyone else started using — navigated new territory and projects we had zero experience with. We learned to have real, honest conversations. We pushed and applauded one another as leaders and supported and helped each other along the way. Mostly, though, we had a lot of fun and laughed way too much.
I’m also going to miss the Content team, a group of people who are just as different as we are similar. I’ll miss the photos of Codi’s daughter Emersyn, Tyler’s outspoken hatred of cheese, and Maria and Annie’s ranch-centered podcast. And of course, there are tons of other interns and full-timers alike, across all departments, that I’ll miss seeing every day.
Aside from lunch outings and jokes, I think I’m going to miss the daily opportunity I had to surround myself with people who were willing to challenge me in every type of way. I had people willing to provide me feedback, question me, and edit my work. I had coworkers who pushed me to work hard, simply because I saw them working harder. The daily opportunity to surround myself with hardworking, driven, and honest friends and coworkers is something that I suspect doesn’t come around that often. Fortunately, I know these friendships won’t end when I head back to Fort Worth for classes this fall.
In our last one-on-one meeting, my Content lead, Will, asked me, “Was it worth it?”
Without having to think, I responded, “Absolutely.”
If you’re interested in summer 2019 opportunities at Spreetail, visit our careers page.