The 2023 Summer Internship Blog: Expectation vs. Reality


Photo of Lucy Paradigm's summer 2023 intern

For the last 10 or so weeks, I was lucky to spend my 2023 summer internship as the Accounts and Strategy intern at Paradigm. I am heading into my sophomore year of college at the University of Georgia as an advertising major, and I feel eager to go back to school now that I’ve seen the ins and outs of the industry I want to pursue.

Throughout this summer, I’ve gained a much greater understanding of the digital marketing and advertising world, and everything I have learned will be a valuable asset in my future. I came into this internship with practically no prior knowledge of the industry. That being said, as I sat down to write my reflection, I couldn’t help but laugh at my expectations of what this internship would be versus the reality.

Expectation: Marketing only involves design/creative work.
Reality: While marketing is creative, I learned proper marketing goes further than just design.

Since I have only ever been a consumer of marketing, my impression of how marketing a product worked was simply what I saw: ads, commercials and social media. However, the list of what Paradigm does behind the scenes is endless: coding, building websites, running ads and meeting with clients. I got to see many of these projects during my 2023 summer internship.

Creating an attention-grabbing ad may work wonders for a business, but the ad needs help to get it into the consumer world. Paradigm has a talented team of designers, and it was incredible to see how they came together with the Technology, Accounts and Strategy teams to give their clients the best chance for success.

Expectation: I wouldn’t be helpful at Paradigm during my 2023 summer internship.
Reality: The more I learned, the more helpful I became.

My goal for this 2023 summer internship was to be as useful as possible. However, since I haven’t even taken a class about advertising or marketing yet, I wasn’t exactly sure how I could be. Looking back, I had nothing to worry about.

I realized quickly that everyone at Paradigm wanted this internship to be a learning experience for me. I was shocked at how much time and effort everyone took in teaching me about the industry and their specific skills. Each member of the team made me feel comfortable asking questions, and continually asked me what I wanted to learn. They even took the time to make practice assignments for me, helping me get started on them and reviewing my work with me when I finished. This allowed me to practice without the pressure of messing up.

I was able to practice writing blogs and social media posts, design a personal logo for my portfolio and try laying out print pages and research SEO keywords for Paradigm’s website.
With this practice, I was able to produce work that was helpful to our internal team. For example, I helped research potential keywords for various clients, brainstorm blog ideas, schedule Paradigm social media posts and assist the Strategy team with research to develop new, additional SEO processes. No matter how small or important, every task I did or meeting I sat in was extremely valuable to me.

Expectation: They work on CopyRIGHTING.
Reality: They work on CopyWRITING.

I remember my summer 2023 internship interview with Paradigm back in March, hearing everyone talk about copyrighting, and I truly thought they helped their clients with the legal rights to their content, which, in my defense, definitely makes sense. I love writing, and know the term “copy” means writing, so this was pretty embarrassing. I’m just glad I found this out before I said anything about copyright laws.

I had no idea that writing — sorry COPYwriting — was a huge component of marketing. Practically everything Paradigm does involves writing, and it was incredible to see the copywriting process for various clients. Writing in the marketing world relies heavily on a deep understanding of the brand and identity of a company, and seeing those stories come to life was remarkable. Learning about copywriting was one of my favorite parts of my internship, and to be honest, learning about copyrighting seemed pretty boring anyways.

Expectation: This will be a cool experience.
Reality: This will be a REALLY cool experience.

I’ve had such a worthwhile, fun and interesting time at Paradigm. I learned something new every day. I got to be a part of many amazing things, such as sitting in on diverse client meetings, seeing behind the scenes of a video shoot and watching the journey of different projects from start to finish. The team at Paradigm is an amazing group of people, and I am so grateful everyone took the time to make sure I was learning. They went above and beyond in making this an enriching experience for me.

While my time here at Paradigm has taught me more about the marketing world than I ever could have hoped for, the greatest gift this internship gave me was excitement for my future. I have reassurance in my career choice and what I have chosen to study. I can move forward in my education with confidence, a luxury not many of my peers have.

I will forever be grateful for Paradigm and everything I’ve learned during my 2023 summer internship. While I’m sad my time here is over, I can’t wait to continue learning about this incredible industry.