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Je m’appelle Alaina = My name is Alaina.

This was my first career choice. I originally wanted to be a French translator (no, not write my name in different languages for fun).  But then, one communications class changed everything.

I came to American University as a Foreign Language and Communication Media major with French and Public Relations tracks, which is just AU’s fancy way to allow me double major without having to actually double major. Like I said, I wanted to be a translator, and the public relations part was a nice backup so that French wasn’t my only skill. I went through a year and a half of college with the same idea in mind, until I took a class called Communication and Society. It changed my mind. I learned so many different perspectives about how communication and the media affect our culture and society that it completely changed my way of thinking. After that class, I realized that while working in the communication field, I could essentially shape how people think.

After this, I started taking all my other basic public relations classes, including my first public relations-specific class. Each minute, I fell more and more in love with the subject. I eagerly conducted focus group simulations, countless op-eds and press releases, and came into class excited to learn from other companies’ PR mistakes and what they did correctly for my future career. Even more than that, I loved discovering about how the media works in general. I excitedly learned about people or events that throw a curveball in how we approach the media. I still enjoyed my French classes, but PR started speeding ahead in terms of what I wanted my career to be.

But once you’re out of the classroom, there’s only so far textbook information takes you. I could learn everything I said above for years in a classroom and still not be prepared for working after graduation, which is why I’m excited for my internship with Atlas. While I could research about a company’s social media strategy through an online case study, developing my own is a different story. I can’t learn about working with clients, or how to create a strategic plan for a client from a book. But more than that, I want to understand how to go above and beyond. I’m not the type to do anything halfway, and I like to be able to distinguish myself from the rest. I want to have ideas that make me stand out. Of course I want to ascertain how to put my classroom skills to use in the “real world”, but my true goal is how to make myself one step above the rest.

In short, I’m the intern. Je m’appelle Alaina.