Snapping My Way to Campus Fame
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." -Anonymous
For those of you that weren't aware, I had the opportunity to intern for the Office of Communications at SUNY Oneonta! With my return to campus in the upcoming weeks, I wanted to reflect on everything that I learned during my time, from how I got the position to what my duties were.
I got the internship on my own.
I actually took the time to reach out and apply for this internship. This summer, I spent some time looking for internship opportunities on and off campus as a social media intern. After looking into a narrow selection, I wanted to see if I could find something else that better suited me. I sent an email to Lisa Miller, the head of social media at the Office of Communications here, inquiring about internship opportunities she might have heard about that she could direct me towards. She replied back immediately saying that there was a position like that in her office for the fall! After exchanging emails answering some questions and sending over my resume, I set up a conference call to talk with her. It turned into a 30-minute phone call about my past experiences and what I can bring to the social media team. Within a few days, I heard back from Lisa saying that wanted me for the position! I was ecstatic that they wanted to have me, and I happily accepted.
Bottom line: don't expect what you're looking for fall into your lap. Go out and get it for yourself.
I wrote articles for the college website.
One of my more interesting aspects involved in my internship was writing for the college website. This wasn't well-known to people because all articles written for the site don't get credited. I would get prompts from Lisa that would explain an achievement that occurred with a student or organization on campus. It was then my responsibility to go out and gather more details about it to write an article that would appear on the front page of the college website. I had the opportunity to talk with some great students that were excelling at internships or that were a part of an amazing project on campus. It strengthened my interviewing skills greatly as I exchanged emails back and forth to get holes in the story filled in, plus get some quotes to include in the article. I also greatly improved my writing skills. I learned how to work on a deadline; you can't post a story about something that happened weeks ago, so I had to work quickly to get the story written as soon as possible. I learned how to write in an inverted pyramid scheme: the most important details at top to supporting details to fun information the reader might like to know.
This was a great way to get a student's voice heard and give them a sense of accomplishment for getting recognized for what they're doing.
I was a part of team meetings.
Despite being an intern, my voice was definitely wanted for the social media team. Each week, I would meet with Lisa to discuss events happening on campus. She also gave me other mini assignments to work on or think about during this time that I could complete by the next meeting. We went over data that we collected during the week, such as the retention rate on Snapchat Stories. After this, we went to the conference room and met up with the whole team. Each one of the people were in charge on different aspects of communication on campus, such as graphic design for the website or photography at campus events. Here, we would meet and talk about events going on this week that we wanted to cover. We would discuss how to go about this, such as having two people go to an event with one in charge of capturing moments to put on Snapchat and the other to take photography to make an Instagram post. Everyone from the team was nice and helpful. They asked for my opinions and ideas as a student and someone who is heavily involved on social media.
This was one of the most rewarding aspects because I felt like a true member of the team. My ideas were heard, with some of them getting implemented.
I became more involved with Snapchat.
One of my favorite parts of this internship was the opportunity to take over the Snapchat account. Everyone on the team wasn't familiar with Snapchat, so they struggled to figure out how it worked and what to put on it. When I joined the team, they were more than happy to hand off the account for me to run. One of my first projects right away was involved with Snapchat and showcasing Walk Through The Pillars. I was super nervous because I had no idea what to do, but Lisa assured me to just go with the flow and do what I think feels right. With the participation from my friends at the event, I was able to make it a success! This would later lead me to do more takeovers, covering all sorts of events on campus. I also asked questions for the campus to answer, so I got to walk around and ask students for their views and got to interact with more people I would have never known.
I now became the face of SUNY Oneonta through Snapchat. With more than 800 views on each video I posted, people started to recognize me. They would approach me wherever and point me out that I'm the "Snapchat host". Some people will get introduced to me for the first time, and they would point out in curiosity that they knew me from somewhere. As soon as I or the other person mentioned the school Snapchat, a lightbulb went off in their head. I was always a social person on campus, but this was on a different scale. I felt like a celebrity in a sense.
This aspect of my internship was definitely the most helpful. For someone that wants to go into social media, you have to know how each platform works. I was familiar with Snapchat, but I only knew how to use it for personal use. I never knew how to make it appealing to viewers in mind. With around 700 views on each Snap, it made me experiment and learn what viewers wanted to see, from incoming students to parents.
There were challenging moments.
This internship was amazing, but there were struggles along the way. Towards the beginning of the semester, I struggled with content. I didn't know what to showcase on Snapchat that would intrigue viewers. There were moments where I would do a Story and nothing would upload because of heavy online traffic at some events or poor service. When I did questions, some students got shy and wouldn't want to participate. That meant I had to spend longer getting enough responses to showcase. I had trouble communicating with people I was interviewing. They wouldn't get back to me promptly, so I had to make up for content in the article I would be writing. I would get bad remarks on some of my articles because there was lack of explanation and details. I had a hard time with balancing my personal life and internship life. There were moments that I wanted to lay down and relax after a long day of class, or go hang out with friends, but I had to sacrifice that time for events. I got very busy at moments where I had an immense amount of schoolwork to complete plus write an article and do a Snapchat story.
It was overwhelming. As someone that struggles with anxiety, it put a good amount of stress on me at moments. I felt like some of the content I was putting out wasn't my best and I doubted myself at different parts of the semester that I wasn't capable of all of this on top of my schoolwork, executive board position, work and another internship with CollegeFashionista. I made it through, though. Lisa would ask me each week at our meeting about how I was feeling. I learned to be upfront and honest about everything. If I didn't feel like I would make a deadline, I would be vocal about it and tell her. She was understanding, and always assured me that she was impressed with the content that I was putting out and that they were grateful that I was a part of the team. Her encouragement definitely helped push through until the end to put out the best work I could.
This aspect showed me that not everything is going to work out perfectly. However, failure doesn't mean the end of the world. It's all trial and error. If you're confident in yourself and know that you'll do better next time, then you'll succeed.
Overall, I accomplished great things being a part of this internship. It was an opportunity I never thought I would get the chance to do. I will miss being a part of the team for next semester (and having access to all the social media accounts), but I'm excited to see where the team moves on from here! I'll take all of the skills that I've acquired to put into future projects and careers down the road.
It was a challenging yet fun semester! Thanks to everyone that supported me throughout by following SUNY Oneonta on their social media channels and helping me in different ways to succeed!