Through my first three years studying advertising and public relations at Grand Valley I was dead set on finding internships and a career at a public relations firm where I would work with various clients every day. This summer, when I visited a patient at Mary Free Bed it hit me that I want to work somewhere that puts hope and faith in individuals the way Mary Free Bed does, and where truly meaningful relationships are built. While visiting this patient I got to see the way Mary Free Bed changes individuals’ lives and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
Today is my first day, and after meeting everyone and walking around the campus for almost two hours it was made clear that I am going to get a valuable experience out of this internship. After only the first day I can tell that all the employees stand strong behind Mary Free Bed’s mission, and feel passionate about the work they do. Over the next three months I want to strengthen my writing skills, learn more about health care, and gain the passion that Mary Free Bed employees have. But what I am most looking forward to, is building relationships with co-workers, other interns, and patients.
During my interview, Betsy (Media Relations/Writer) told me that the best days are the ones that she gets to go into the hospital and interact with patients and their families. Ben (New Media/Community) told me stories about patients that he has been able to create relationships with that last even after that individual left Mary Free Bed. In marketing storytelling goes a long way, and the patient stories that are told by Mary Free Bed are truly amazing. It’s because of these strong relationships that Mary Free Bed is able to be communicate with everyone in an authentic, hopeful, and emotional way. Just by watching the patient story videos that are posted on Facebook, it is evident that Mary Free Bed gives patients an undeniable level of hope that anyone would be proud to say they helped provide…I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!
Whenever I try to give a succinct explanation of what public relations professionals do to a friend or family member, it always end up as someone thinking all I do is “play” on social media all day. Yes, social media is a huge part of marketing and PR, but I know that there is much more to it than just that. In an internship or job it’s so easy to get lost in the busy work and day to day tasks, but I think this internship will show me that the work I enjoy doing can actually make a difference in the world and in individuals’ lives. I know these next three and a half months are going to fly by but that they are also going to be full of amazing, unique, and fulfilling experiences. WOOO!