By: Gabby Nicotra

Since previously being a teacher’s assistant, I have received all of my internship credits towards graduation. I could have easily stopped right there, but I chose to go down a different path. I decided that I wanted to engage in an internship that was in an office, that way; I could get a first-hand glimpse on what the ‘real world’ was all about. Nobody told me to do this, and I knew that I had all of my internship credits already; however, this is something that I wanted to do.

So I decided to apply like crazy to various places that were looking to hire interns. I knew that I would want to intern starting in the summer after my spring classes would end in April. After going to various interviews and sending out my resume like there was no tomorrow, I finally heard back and was picked from a few different places to intern. At first, I became anxious, not knowing which place to pick, but after speaking with my family and friends, they told me it was a good problem to have. That is when I finally decided to intern with Fifth Third Bank’s corporate office in Naples, assisting their SVP Marketing Director.

I was so ecstatic that I was going to intern with them, and the best part was, that I was going to be paid! Knowing how hard it is to get a paid internship these days, I felt extremely grateful. As well, I felt even better when their HR recruiter based out of Cincinnati, Ohio called me to tell me that the Marketing Director who interviewed me was so impressed, that she didn’t even want to see anyone else! It got even better, when they called me again a few days later, and told me how they would be paying me more money than they had originally told me!

At this point, I knew I had made the right decision and could not believe that I was receiving this amazing opportunity. Although my main focus has been public relations, I have taken an intro to marketing class, and knew how important marketing was, and how it went hand I hand with public relations. While I was very nervous for my first day on the job, I was always extremely jubilant! I could not believe that I would be interning from May until December when I graduate, and that it would be a co-op internship, meaning that I could potentially land a job with Fifth Third Bank after I graduate.

Since interning in a corporate office, I have learned various things. I also have to dress professional every day, and love it! I currently intern three days a week, and am always working on various projects. So far, I have helped set up a few events for the winners of a food drive that ended before I got here. It included having to call a gaming company and food truck service to come to multiple locations. The events turned to be a success, and I felt very proud to have planned it all. I am also helping out with our upcoming “Back to School Supply Drive” which includes collecting school supply items for children throughout Lee, Charlotte, Manatee, Sarasota, Broward, Palm Beach, and Collier County!

I am constantly connecting and communicating with people every day, which is what public relations entails as well. My boss has me constantly sending out communications to everyone in regard to what we are previously working on, whether it be the supply drive or about stories we need for our weekly online newsletter. I am always up for challenges and learning new things. I cannot believe that I have already been interning for two months now, and have five more to go! I could have easily sat around all summer, but I chose to take a different path, and could not have made a better decision. This marketing internship has already taught me how important communication is, as well as getting to know your surrounding publics and community. By the time I get a real job after graduation, I can strongly say that I will be prepared and ready for any challenges that come my way!