I’m Zena Gittens, a Houston native and San Antonio transplant, attempting to make the transition from college student to adulthood as gracefully as possible as I approach my last semester of college. In May of 2019, I will cross the stage and receive my diploma in Communications with a concentration in PR and a minor in Music Marketing from UTSA. But before that, I’ve spent my fall semester as an intern for The DeBerry Group, a PR and marketing agency in downtown San Antonio. I get a lot of questions about my experience at DeBerry—here are my answers to the most popular ones in hopes that I can inspire other students to take an internship like mine.
“What does your typical day at The DeBerry Group look like?”
Typically, my work day starts with scarfing down a quick lunch because I come into work straight from campus. As an intern at The DeBerry Group, you can always expect your plate to be piled high with a million and one things to get done—which I love about working here. Recently, my days have been consumed with contacting vendors, replying to emails and returning phone calls regarding a big event we have coming up. It’s been a really unique experience being able to have so much freedom coordinating a variety of elements for this event, and I love being able to work so closely with so many of our clients.
“How do you stay organized throughout the day?”
Lots and lots of sticky notes. At any point in the day, if you peek over at my desk, you will see at least five sticky notes bordering my computer screen. I have also become a self-proclaimed professional at Google Sheets and Excel, because it’s a vital resource in helping me keep everything sorted correctly. It also helps that everyone I work with is extremely organized and there is never a question of “Who’s doing what?”
“What do you like best about working at The DeBerry Group?”
I think the work environment is one of the biggest indicators of whether you will enjoy your job or not. My favorite thing here is the people. Everyone has been so open and welcoming towards me—I definitely don’t feel like an intern. After my first experience working at a firm, I thought agency life wasn’t for me, but being here has changed my opinion. Agency life isn’t so terrible after all!
“What have you learned about yourself and your future career from your internship?”
Interning at The DeBerry Group has taught me a lot about myself and my interests. I’ve learned to be confident in my knowledge and skills. When someone assigns me something, there’s not often a lot of time for instruction on how to complete the assignment. This is very different than anything I’m used to after attending school for 18 years—we’re constantly told exactly what to do. At first, I was nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to perform accordingly, but through trial and error, many questions and lots of positive feedback, I now feel even more confident in my skills.
Being here has also helped me warm up to the idea of working at an agency after graduation. After my first experience with an agency, I never thought I wanted to work with an agency again, but after my experience at The DeBerry Group, I can definitely see myself living the agency life.
It’s so weird to think that in less than six months I will be a college graduate and on to the next part of my life. I’ve been preparing for this all of my life. Interning here has prepared me for the future because it has given me a taste of a real work environment. By allowing me to be so hands-on, I have learned what it takes to get tasks done in a timely fashion, what it’s like to adequately adapt to last minute changes by the client, and learn the importance of a positive work environment. I will definitely take all these insights with me when it’s time for me to move on.
“What would you tell a fellow classmate who didn’t think an internship was beneficial?”
Internships are the best learning experience. Few things you turn in for a grade will ever prepare you for what actually goes on day-to-day in the industry. It also allows you to learn and grow in a tangible way, and that alone makes an internship one of the most beneficial experiences.