Intern life: 'Undertaking my placement year at LOTUS has been one of the best decisions I’ve made'.

I’m currently studying Media & Communications at Bournemouth University, but I have been an intern at PR Company LOTUS since June 2017 as part of my sandwich year placement.

Before working at LOTUS, I had taken short work experiences at other media companies, but it was hard to learn anything in two or three week stints. When our lecturers gave us the opportunity to take a year out to work in the industry I jumped at the chance to gain some long-term experience where I could put the skills I’d learnt at university into play. I ended up securing a placement at London travel PR agency, LOTUS which I was thrilled about.

I’ve always had a love for travel, and from my studies at university I figured PR was a potential route for me to go down, so putting the two together made perfect sense. I hoped that having a year in the industry would solidify thoughts on a career when I graduate, I know many people leave university with no idea where to go next.

Since working at LOTUS I have worked on various client accounts. These range from hotels to theme parks to tourists boards, always gaining insight into the many different PR tactics used to secure editorial coverage – from press release writing to press trips and events.

Of course, as an intern you can guarantee you will be doing tasks such as reporting and saving coverage, (I am now an expert on Excel, and can make a mean Releas’d report in a matter of minutes) but I have been given more senior tasks such as drafting weekly social plans for clients, writing press releases and responding to media requests.

One of my favourite projects was helping to organise and run a consumer event for the Andorra Tourist Board. My role included helping to choose the venue, organise the catering and arrange the merchandise, as well as helping to make sure it all went smoothly on the night.

Another project involved securing bloggers for an international influencer campaign for Efteling Theme Park. I had to decide who would be right for the campaign (profile of influencer, followers etc), negotiate coverage and organise travel details.

Both of these events pushed me out of my comfort zone as I had never done anything like this before. I really enjoyed working on them and it showed me where my strengths and weaknesses lie and helped me develop so many skills that I didn’t think I had before.

Agency life can be extremely busy, and this year I’ve had to teach myself how to prioritise and balance my workload more than ever before. My one tip to any intern is to write EVERYTHING down, no matter how small the job is because otherwise you will forget. Sticky notes have been my best friend this year. You will find many of them strewn around my desk with one word reminders scribbled on them. As an intern you are there to help whenever you’re needed – so as cliché as it sounds, every day can be completely different. Some days I can spend hours putting together coverage reports for clients and the next I could be sending out desk drops to journalists.

When I first started here I wasn’t the most confident person. Tasks such as answering the phone made me extremely nervous and I wasn’t sure how to articulate my opinions or ideas to the wider team. But, throughout the last 11 months, I have noticed my confidence grow massively. I now feel confident voicing my opinions in group discussions and brainstorms, I have a solid understanding of the way a travel agency specialist works and have completely broadened my knowledge on not only the PR industry as a whole, but also on many different destinations LOTUS represents – which I am now desperate to visit!

Undertaking my placement year at LOTUS has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I feel in a great position to go back to university in September and complete my final year, with a lot more confidence and knowledge behind me.