As one intern leaves to learn on a foreign continent, another steps into her role, eager to try to fill her shoes. My name is Olin Hanson, I am 20 years old, and will be starting my junior year at the University of Oregon in the fall. While I haven’t started most of the courses for my major, I plan to study public relations, advertising, and media studies under the journalism major.

As this summer approached, it was the first time I thought about trying to get an internship and finding a job in a field I am passionate about. In the past, I have played it safe, landing work in clothing stores, warehouses, and after-school lounges for young and disabled kids. While some of this work was rewarding, I wanted to secure an internship some where I could learn and grow.

I started my search by figuring out what type of job I wouldn’t want to do, because as my family could attest, I like a lot of different things and am notoriously indecisive. In the end, it was just math and numbers that I wanted to avoid. From there, I figured I wanted something that could fit my many interests, and my need to stay busy. My dad suggested that I reach out to our family friend, Ward Hubbell, as he runs a public relations firm in Portland. Right when he said it, I recognized that it would be a perfect opportunity, after all, public relations will be a large portion of the rest of my education. I knew I would get to work on a lot of different subject matters, never getting bored or losing interest, and I would get to see the things I work on play out in public. This really intrigued me.

The prospect of working at a public relations firm meant that I wouldn’t just be filing paperwork or getting people coffee, as I might at another internship. Rather, I would be immersed in a real business where I could learn firsthand from industry professionals, and have my contributions mean something.

Now that I am through one week of work, I know that I am at the right place. I have already learned an incredible amount, much more than I thought I would, and am learning more every day. This internship has allowed me to delve deeper into public affairs, and interact with it in ways I hadn’t before, including things like attending town halls with our U.S. Senators, writing press releases for local organizations, attending community press conferences and drafting newsletters. I am also learning what it means to work and conduct myself in an office setting, something that is new to me as well. I am only a week in, but already know that this internship will prove to be very valuable and rewarding for me down the line.