By Tysha Campbell, The Sandbox Project Communications and Policy Intern
Coming into my internship at The Sandbox Project in Toronto this summer, I didn’t know what to expect. I was extremely nervous for my first day but I couldn’t wait to gain real world experience in communications, a field I’ve previously dedicated three years of my life to. Although working at The Sandbox Project wasn’t my first internship, it was the first one where I was finally able to gain firsthand, real, in-office experience. I couldn’t wait to see the contributions I would make to the child and youth health sector.
Throughout my internship, I gained an understanding of how different organizations operate within the non-profit sector. Being that public relations work is hugely diverse, it was great to work with Sandbox’s different partners within the sector. I discovered how vital it is for a PR professional to truly understand the different objectives of each of their partner organizations so that strategies properly align with one another. And even though everyone across our network shares the goal of creating a healthier country for Canada’s kids, it was exceptional to see the different ways each individual organization is working to get there.
I worked on a variety of different projects while being given the freedom to showcase my creativity. As the Communications and Policy Intern, I had the opportunity to be the media relations lead for The Sandbox Project’s annual event in Ottawa, the World’s largest Sandbox. This year, to commemorate Canada and Ontario’s 150th birthday, the event was named Sandbox150: Building Healthy Futures. I played a critical role on the team and had the chance to develop valuable skills. I continued to accept opportunities to grow and explore, which is very important for a young adult just starting out.
Working as an intern not only taught me vital skills of the professional but it also helped reassure my previous notions about whether not I had made the right career choice. If you’re having trouble figuring it out, I’d like to share some personal insights that helped me get through it:
- Be a sponge: Take in as much information as you can and always try and take notes that you may refer back to at a later date.
- Constructive criticism is good: Do not get discouraged if you’re asked to make several drafts of your work. This is just what it takes to become great and you’re only doing yourself the favour.
- Ask for feedback: You’re spending a huge amount of your time at your placement. Make sure you’re getting all that you can out of it. Sit down with your immediate manager and ask about what works and what doesn’t, and talk openly about the goals you would like to accomplish.
- Share your ideas: Even though you’re the newest person to join the team, share your insights and perspectives. You may catch something others don’t tend to look for.
- Make your connections and have fun! Although this internship is your foot in the door, make sure you’re truly having a great time doing it. This is your chance to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.