Welcome to one of the most influential summers of my life! My name is Jaclyn Lindquist ’19. I will be a senior at Carthage this year with a double major in public relations and communication. I am from Rockford, Illinois where I was born and raised and where I have been working as a marketing and group services intern at the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB) this summer.
The month of June was over as quickly as it began, but it was full of firsts and hands-on learning. While day one included the ordinary orientation presentations and introductions around the small office, I was thrown into the friendly fire of RACVB on day two. The RACVB was in the midst of planning the 75th Anniversary of the Rockford Peaches and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). I was able to be a part of the week-long celebration including last-minute preparations, event arrangement, execution, hosting travel writers, and interacting with visitors. The next few weeks were a whirlwind of excitement and learning in the moment. After those initial days of constant hustle, I was unfazed by the rest of the month that seemed to rush by with endless events and projects in the office.
I was extremely eager about accepting this internship because it combined two careers I was interested in pursuing after Carthage. Group services incorporated small-scale event planning, management, and more. On the other hand, I have learned new skills and completed many tasks to integrate the marketing side of my internship.
The summer months in Rockford brought intense heat to the region as well as many events. As an intern, I was able to assist with one of the region’s largest events hosted by the RACVB, the Fred VanVleet Fan Fest. Fred VanVleet is a Rockford high school graduate turned NBA star as a point guard for the Toronto Raptors and was nominated for the 2018 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. VanVleet is passionate about basketball and giving back to his hometown. Partnering with VanVleet, the RACVB hosted the Fred VanVleet Fan Fest encouraging young players to join local teams with fun for the whole family. Engaging in the promotion and execution of the FVV Fan Fest was rewarding and inspiring as more than 900 members from the community attended the event.
While events are an exciting alternative to the day-to-day routine, most of my days are filled with work where I can utilize my public relations coursework. The RACVB partners with countless initiatives and business in the area by providing marketing assistance to promote Rockford as travel destination. This has allowed me to work with many organizations to promote their cause by managing social media pages, writing press releases, creating social media content calendars, and generating blog posts to attract visitors to the region.
Full disclosure, before beginning my summer internship, I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduate in May. One of my goals during this internship was, of course, to learn outside the classroom from experts in the field. Another goal, tucked in the back of my mind, was to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life; no pressure! While I am nearing the end of my experience, I believe I am coming to a conclusion about my future, but it is not what I expected.
As an intern at RACVB, I have had the opportunity to work and collaborate with many different people from many different organizations. Each time I meet with someone new, I ask them questions about their career and try to picture myself in their position. Most of the time, I find that I would enjoy most of the jobs I have come across. This has confirmed to me that I am in the right major and interested in several careers that can incorporate my public relations and communication education. While my goal in this internship was to find assurance, I have actually established I do not want to have the same job for the rest of my life. There are so many unique, interesting, and exhilarating careers in the world. Why should I limit myself to just one?
The best days of my internship include getting out of the office and promoting my city with first hand experiences. I have been able to ease the burden of writing weekly blog posts from my supervisor’s shoulders, which allows me kayak on the Rock River, tour amazing floral shops, attend city events and eat the best ice cream in town as part of my summer job! I could not ask for a better day than eating ice cream and being paid to do it! Promoting a city I am passionate about by writing about my experiences is the best part of my internship.
However, this summer has not been completely glamourous. Even though days in the office keep me busy, some days, the mundane routine can take its toll; especially on a beautiful sunny day. Luckily, those days are few and far between. Never the less, I have learned that this is something to consider when looking for career opportunities after Carthage.