Grady InternViews: Ciara Pysczynski
Grady InternViews: Ciara Pysczynski
This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
With both of my internships, my primary duty is basically filling in the gaps — helping out with big tasks and taking on smaller ones. There isn’t too much consistency to my day beyond showing up! At NP Agency, I get to write a lot of social copy, and I’ve also compiled clips, transcribed press calls and pitched journalists. At PR Collaborative, I’ve tracked media hits for a major film festival, identified images to share with the press and conducted research on journalists and other organizations.
I have one position that’s fully remote with only one regular staff meeting each week, and then one fully in-person, where I see my co-workers/bosses every day. With NP, I’m on the clock from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, but unless a press call or other time-sensitive task comes up, I get to decide how I structure my day. My internship with PRC has a bit more structure to it. On Thursday and Friday, my day starts with our meetings at 10, and then I’m given my assignment(s) for the day. My first-ever internship was in the middle of the pandemic last semester, so I’ve been so grateful to experience in-person work.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
In all honesty, the biggest challenge I’ve faced has been myself. Through my work this summer, I’ve discovered I like work that is a) creative or b) made up of very clear, discrete steps. So, things like writing tweets or filling in a spreadsheet. Tasks that are neither of those things – that are really open-ended and don’t allow me to be creative, like a research assignment – are much more difficult. Especially while working from home, where something much more engaging is only a tap away and I don’t have my boss in the next room, I’ve found it at times incredibly challenging to stay on task. That said, I’m learning strategies to deal with that and keep myself focused, because I know this won’t be the last time in my career that I have to complete less engaging duties.
How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?
My coursework at Grady has given me a lot of confidence in my writing and approach to PR. I have to give a special shoutout to Tom Cullen and his PR Communications class, because I learned so much in that course that I refer back to, from press release guidelines to AP Style rules. If I don’t think my social copy would get me an ‘A’ in that class, I know it needs more work!
What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?
Don’t underestimate yourself. When I first started writing social copy for NP, I thought it was so terrible. Like I thought they were going to send it back to me absolutely torn to shreds. But everyone seemed to be pretty happy with it! Make no mistake, my work still gets a lot of edits, but that’s the nature of the business. You might have used the wrong dash or not known a client-specific style rule, but you probably have the right idea with the concept, which, in my opinion, is the most important thing. And even if you do write some absolutely abysmal copy, it is NOT the end of the world, and your boss will NOT think you are stupid. Everyone does that sometimes.
What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?
I have a lot more confidence in my ability to do this work now, and a much better idea of how I fit into the world of PR. As I finish out my Grady coursework, I’ll be able to think about how the work I’m doing would fit in the context of what I did at NP and PRC and be able to understand and apply the lessons more fully. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and what I’m interested in, which I think is the most important part of any internship experience. I know I want to focus more on my copywriting beyond social, and on longer-form writing in general. I’ve learned I like working for a smaller agency/team, and that I am (as I suspected), most engaged and inspired when I’m applying that second major and working in the entertainment industry.