Going into my senior year as a marketing student at Butler University, I thought to myself, “What even is marketing?” That’s kind of a terrifying thought to have when graduation is practically in sight. To me, marketing is this broad umbrella with everything from market research to digital media to project management beneath it. There are so many different personalities and interests that make up general “marketing”, how do you even begin to choose which direction to take it? It’s hard to define it in just one or two sentences without missing out on tons of other possible definitions. Because of this uncertainty and broad scope of what marketing actually is, I was terrified to be going into my senior year without knowing exactly what I want to do with my degree.
When I landed my first real marketing internship with Willow, I was nervous about what I could actually bring to the table. Sure, I had been learning all about marketing for the past three years, but I had never really done any of it. And yes, I had a few internships before Willow, but they gave me tasks like making copies and going on Starbucks runs. When I showed up for my first day as an intern at Willow, the first thing Maggie (the most bubbly intern manager ever) did was set aside time for one-on-one meetings for me with each Willow employee. The purpose of these meetings was simply to get to know each other and for me to hear their stories about how they got to Willow.
I learned so much through talking to these people about the winding paths that led them to the jobs they are all so passionate about today. It was reassuring to hear real stories about people who were once in the same boat that I am, and that it’s okay to not have a perfectly laid out 10-year plan. For example, did you know that Lauren always thought she would go into politics? She took her skills of speech writing and presenting and made it into a career in PR. How cool is that?
They also helped guide me to figure out what it is that I am passionate about within marketing. Nobody had ever really pushed me to think about that, and when they challenged me to try out different areas of marketing and continue to learn more about my opportunities, I couldn’t have been more grateful. They started noticing my strengths and gave me tasks in areas they thought I might enjoy, and continued to send new projects in my direction (because who knows—maybe I have a special talent for social media).
After getting to know the basics about Willow and it’s employees, they all went above and beyond to include me as part of the Willow team. I was able to attend internal events like Willow Wednesday and Motivational Monday, as well as external events like their annual holiday party (which was a blast, by the way). Willow is full of people who inspire me, who I have fun spending time with, and who make me excited to come into work every day.
I felt like I was part of their family. And I mean that literally. There were almost always dogs and/or kids in the office, we would celebrate birthdays, and get to know each other on a more personal level. It is a great atmosphere to work in, and spending my mornings in the office is still the highlight of my day (especially since I would be in 15 credit hours of class if I weren’t here).
As I begin my second semester as an intern here, I keep reflecting on some of the highlights and triumphs of the past semester and what led me to want to stay at Willow.
- Sitting in on client meetings and hearing about exciting new developments
- Brainstorming on new campaign ideas
- Finding out my office-buddy lives in the same neighborhood as I do
- Getting to plan my own event
- Sitting down with Dylan and learning more about Google Adwords… just for fun
- Getting the coolest white elephant gift at the holiday party (which was a giant football-shaped mug, not to brag)
After now spending five months with Willow, they have brought me more clarity and more valuable experiences than I could have wished for. And, I actually enjoyed all of it. Being an intern in an environment that values learning and growth has given me more perspective on my own professional journey than any other class or previous internship experience. I went home for Christmas break and got asked the classic question that adults like to ask confused college students: “So, what do you want to do with your life?” And for the first time, I had a darn good answer.
My parents thank you, Willow!