As an incoming freshman here at Auburn, there are many opportunities to get involved. There are fraternities, sororities, clubs, intramural sports and much more. Those are all great, but for those considering working in sports, the best option is to begin interning as early as possible. Interning not only allows students to gain real world experience, but also provides an opportunity for them to build relationships, enhance their resumes and determine whether they truly want to pursue their current field of study. To reiterate the point, longtime Auburn University Associate Athletic Director Shelly Poe echoed those thoughts.
“I think it’s really important because interning is where you get practical experience. That’s not to diminish what you do in class because it’s important, but actually doing and learning things and the pace of how they happen in an office is really beneficial,” said Poe. “Writing a paper for class is different from writing a story right after the tennis match or as it’s going on. You know you have to get it done. You don’t have a week to work on it. Learning the pace of how things move in real life is something you get from interning more than school.”
Interning has to be treated as a real job, which understandably may be intimidating to some. In reality, however, that feeling doesn’t last very long. Most people end up enjoying interning once they get a feel for what they have to do. Current media relations intern and sophomore Amanda Ronan described her experience starting out as such.
“I remember I was really scared in the first meeting before the first football game because the assignment sheet was really confusing. I probably asked a million questions, but I was still confused,” said Ronan. “I was so confused because I thought that everything about this was so cool, and I’d be done if I messed anything up. I was really nervous at first, but I obviously still enjoyed it. It became a lot easier than I thought it was after the first week. That feeling has carried on through today.”
Interning is not only important, but can be also be enjoyable if students are in the right field. When it comes to sports, interns get an opportunity to see the process that goes on behind the scenes and work alongside people that many others look up to. Recent graduate and now full-time media relations intern Matt Penland expressed the same attitude when referencing his favorite part of interning.
“I think my favorite part was being able to build up enough trust with the SIDs that I actually got my own sport. I also got to go into the locker room after basketball games. I thought it was pretty cool that I proved myself enough to get to hang out with Bruce Pearl after the game,” said Penland. “Now I’ve worked seven SEC events, and I’ve gotten to meet a lot of cool people from different schools and conferences. I’ve also met people from ESPN and CBS. It’s been like a dream come true getting to meet some of the people you grew up watching on TV every Saturday.”
The most important step in landing a job with athletics is getting a foot in the door. A student that shoots an email to an employer about possible opportunities is already miles ahead of those who didn’t. Most students also find that employers are typically eager to help as they once were in the same position. Once the connection is made, all that is left to do is work hard and enjoy the ride.