True Challenges of an Intern

This is posted as part of our Summer Intern Blog Series. Be sure to come back each week as interns from around the country share their summer experiences with us!

By: Kelly Cartner, @kellyfavre4

This summer has no doubt been a tremendous one and I have learned so many beneficial skills and built some great relationships. During this long summer, I have reflected on the multiple different moments that I absolutely loved and others that weren’t the greatest, but knew I could learn from.

What Went Right:

My eagerness to learn multiple new skills in a supportive environment. So many opportunities presented themselves and I wanted to do ALL of them. I wanted to learn media, more marketing, the internal affairs of NCAA athletics, managing staff, working in professional sports and event management. A very long list with limited time leads me to my very important lesson this week: Challenges of an intern.

What Went Less-Than-Right:

Because I want to have so many experiences and build my resume, I do tend to take on too much at one time, which is something I struggled with this summer. As I have mentioned, saying “yes” is great and it gets your foot in the door, but we only have two feet and so many doors we can fit them in. It became a good time to learn to improve my time management skills and learn to prioritize better.

Every since my undergraduate days at Central Michigan, time management has been a strength of mine. However, this was put to the test this summer as I tried to juggle so many opportunities at once. This also gave me a good lesson to learn how to tell others that I was interested in helping them, but that the timing wasn’t right. The key is turn any negative moment or any challenge into a positive one. You have to reframe the situation.

The Positive:

It became a good time to learn how to politely tell people that I am interested in gaining experience with them and learning from them and, when I complete a few of my other projects, I will gladly help them.

I have never been great at telling people “no” and I truly don’t want to, but I did need to learn to politely tell them “yes,” but just not right now. This helped me tremendously with my communication and relationship building skills. It is nothing new for us in the sportsbiz to hear that so much of our job revolves around relationships and learning how to tell people “yes, but not at the moment,” helped me capitalize on the new relationships I built and gain their respect.

They knew I wanted to help them and that I eventually will, but that I need to focus on my current commitments before adding another. I can then demonstrate to them that I want to be able to put in 100 percent effort into my projects and in order for me to do that, I need to prioritize. I want to be able to put their project near the top of my list. When I explain these to the coaches and administration I work with, they can see how important their respect is to me and I can continue to build that relationship with them.

Another thing to mention is that in most situations, I think about how I would talk about the experience or how I could bring it up in an interview for a future job. When asked about challenges I face or some of my weaknesses, I will be able to look back at the internship experience I had and discuss how I struggled with wanting to do everything, but in reality couldn’t. I would then follow that with what I learned and how I adjusted my time management skills to make that weakness or challenge into a strength and a positive.

It wouldn’t be a true internship without a couple of challenges, but the key for me was reflecting on those challenges and learning more about myself. It also gave me a chance to improve a few of my strengths and while also strengthening my weaknesses. Yes, there will be challenges, but make sure you learn from them because you will learn more about yourself and the true life of what it’s like to be in the sportsbiz.