Behind the Red Door: My Experience as an Intern

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Ashley and I am currently an intern at Red Door Real Estate WNY in Buffalo, NY. I’ve been an intern since late May and will be finishing up at the beginning of August. With only a few days of my internship left, I am nearing the end of my journey at Red Door. For my final blog, I wanted to let you, whoever you may be, know about my experience as an intern.

A Little Bit of Background:

First and foremost, I think it’s important to mention how I got here, including some of my skills and experiences that led to me coming about this internship. I am currently a student at Alfred University and will be graduating in December 2018 with a BA in Communication Studies and Sociology. Throughout my years in college, I, like many other students, am no stranger to questioning and reexamining what I want to do with my life and in what capacity I want to do it. I knew I loved communications and decided to pursue that as my primary major to hopefully explore some avenues to apply my passions. After taking on many college classes in high school, I was able to pick up a second major in Sociology to enhance and expand my knowledge.

However, despite the fact that it appears as though I know what I wish to pursue after leaving college, I have no idea. And by no idea, I mean not a single ounce of certainty in regards to my career path. So during this past April, I began to browse for summer internships. I have always had a job during the summers previous, but never an official internship. That thought was overwhelming and quite scary. I constantly felt as though I was behind, and still do if we’re honest. And despite getting good grades and taking a bunch of classes to be a well-rounded student, whatever that means, I had no practical real-world experience outside of my minimum wage jobs that simply pay the college bills. I originally applied to an extremely notable college program for the summer, but got to the last round of interviews and ultimately didn’t get the job. After which, I began to research and apply to as many internships as I possibly could, many of which fell through almost immediately because I was starting so late. The acceptances I did receive; I wasn’t thrilled about. I was blindly applying to as many opportunities as I could, in hopes that something would stand out.

Eventually, after countless hours of experiencing an existential crisis, I found a marketing internship at Red Door Real Estate WNY posted on internships.com. As my eyes glanced over the job description I thought, “Hey, I could do this.” And, as it turns out, spoiler alert, I could. I applied for the job, had an interview with Liz, and then was hired for the summer. Upon first receiving the offer for the internship, I immediately noticed how willing Red Door was to accommodate and work around my schedule for the internship. I was able to pick my start and end dates as well as the hours that would work for me. They were also more than helpful in setting up and working with me to gain academic credit for my internship.

So, after finishing the spring semester, I packed up my things and moved to Buffalo for my new internship, and have been here ever since. What I want to talk about though, is what this internship really consists of. Essentially I want to go over some of the pros and cons I’ve experienced during my time here. In this, I’m going to be honest about what made this internship great, and what I personally thought fell short. Don’t get me wrong this is a positive review overall, but I think that it’s important to mention the cons and would be wrong not to.

Payment v. Experience

While this internship was extremely beneficial as well as enjoyable for me personally, because the internship is unpaid the lack of financial compensation will ultimately and understandably hinder some individuals from taking part. Being a broke college student, I really had to work to be able to afford to do this internship, and I understand that this isn’t a possibility for everyone. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend rent-free as well as have enough money saved up to pay all my necessary bills over the summer.

On the other hand, as an intern, you’re being compensated in other ways than simply payment. You’re learning valuable skills and putting a relevant and practical experience on your resume that will hopefully open up a lot of doors of other color variations. Further, it shows employers that you find skills more valuable than money and that you’re willing to make that tradeoff to learn and grow as a young professional.

The job itself:

If it wasn’t obvious, being an intern isn’t always glamorous. You can be stuck doing tasks that don’t necessarily inspire or motivate you in any capacity. Some tasks are mundane, others boring, some you just won’t personally enjoy. One thing that I’ve struggled the most with was writing blogs. You know this thing you’re reading right now, yeah, not the biggest fan. My first blog about the best ice-cream places in Buffalo was easy because I came up with the idea almost immediately, but things swiftly went downhill from there. I didn’t realize just how many blogs I would have to write in such a short amount of time. As someone who has never written a blog, but has almost exclusively written in terms of academia, this was hard for me to learn. I constantly and consistently had no idea what to write about and frequently asked my boss for inspiration. And when I would sit down to write blogs, I just couldn’t be bothered.

However, the good that came out of it was that it challenged me. It challenged me to write in a way I had very little experience with. I have become a more versatile writer and have enhanced my ability to self-edit and be confident in what I was putting out in the world. When I write a paper for university, I have many opportunities over the course of weeks to revise and re-edit so that its final draft is in pristine condition for an audience of one. This is something I really didn’t have the opportunity to do with blogs. Often I would have to come up with an idea, research, write, and edit it all within the same day. After writing numerous blogs about a variety of different topics, I ended up finding blogs I really enjoyed writing. The point is, while you may end up doing something you won’t enjoy, you’ll end up learning far more from it than you ever expected.

While you may be occasionally stuck doing something you don’t enjoy, there are a lot of things that you’ll do that you will enjoy, some that you won’t know about until you actually do them. This internship gives you the opportunity to try and learn many different things, and the only thing limiting you is yourself. You will get out of this internship exactly what you put into it, that’s something important to remember.

Some really great pros   

I made connections with the wonderful team here at Red Door. Their willingness to help and determination for me to get the most out of my short time here was overwhelming in the best way possible. Every team member here has taught me invaluable skills not limited to marketing. I am a better person and better professional because of Red Door. I also learned so much about myself. I was given a platform to excel and thrive in areas that I was good at, but also the ability to fail and learn from things I wasn’t as well versed in.

I was also given the opportunity to take part in some amazing experiences I hadn’t originally expected to be a part of. I was able to do some wonderful volunteer work with VolunteerWNY, I attended the Facebook Community Boost where I learned a lot about social media, and I also was able to ride along with my boss on some house flips to see the world of real estate from a first-hand view. These experiences really stand out to me when looking back on this internship, they were some of the most rewarding as well as the most influential.

The thing about the pros and cons is, you will always have to take them together. No matter how you slice it. There were days during this internship that I would rather be anywhere else in the world. But I loved this internship despite everything else. Some days I struggled, others I thrived, but I was lucky enough to have an internship where I was equally respected and valued each and every single one of those days.

Reflection

If nothing else, I consider this a personal reflection of my time here at Red Door. It was a time of personal growth in many aspects of my life. I found new interests, reconnected with someone I hadn’t seen in a long while, gained a new bullet point on my resume, and gained admiration for a small business I didn’t know about six months ago. All in all, this experience was truly eye-opening for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it and will take many lessons with me long after I’ve left Red Door.

If you’re considering doing an internship, you should. Check out Red Door’s Facebook page to see what kind of content you’ll be creating, look at our job posting on Indeed, or send in your resume to Liz at lizcurry@gmail.com.

By: Ashley Dressig

 

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