What I Learned As An Intern That College Doesn't Teach

Posted by Katie Pierce on May 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM

What I Learned As An Intern That College Doesn't Teach

College is a hub for young, soon-to-be professionals transitioning into the working world. Typically, the only experience they have in an area is from what their professors have taught them. 

The problem?

The college experience is different for everyone but I would argue that it developes a sense of core concepts with the ability to question in all students (who apply themselves). These concepts are extremely important but nothing can prepare you for the working world - other than the working world.

Here are a few noticable differences that I learned while working for PRIME that college doesn't teach.

Grades Are Important, But Not Really


Grades, grades, grades. Universities stress grades to an obnoxious extent. In addition, I've been lectured by an advisor that any classes that have either been "dropped" or "withdrawn" are huge red flags to employers. In short, good luck finding a job.


Whether it be destiny or luck or something else, I came to the promised lands here at PRIME as an Intern. During my first interview, I was "graded" not on my GPA but rather on concepts and motivation as well as a cultural fit. Thankfully, this internship wasn't just getting coffee rather than real world marketing tasks that I could assist and apply the core concepts that I had developed in college. In addition, I have yet to use any "Statistical Confidence Intervals" that I was promised I would need for every job - thanks professor.

 Related: The Thing Employers Look For When Hiring Recent Graduates

Homework Is The Key, But Not Really


Most professors distribute assignements throughout the semester. Their students complete the tasks and turn it back into that professor which he/she grades. Depending on the professor, they might leave their personal feedback after they grade your work about what they where looking for instead of what you presented them.

Very seldomly will the professor give you the option to review the feedback and then resubmit your work for a new grade. Your grades then depict how good of a student you are in the class.


However somewhat applicable, your work is only a part of it. Yes, it is very important to do good and consistent work because it's the reason you're hired. However, there are many aspects that affect your overall work and most students don't know (I know I didn't). Some factors that play a role in the overall work presence is your ability to:

  • Produce efficient, quailty work
  • Contribute to a team
  • Connect with your coworkers
  • Be flexible and help out wherever needed
  • Remain true to yourself

Success at work can be accomplished when all five areas are met.

Final Projects, But Not Really


In college, each of my courses has been structured in a way that built up to one huge, final project at the end of the semester. At the end of the project, either just you or your team would recieve your final grade based on the individual professors stipulations and your group would be disbanded at that.


Some jobs may be similar but as an intern at PRIME, it has been the exact opposite. There of course, are small projects or assignments that you complete throughout the day but they all contribute to something much larger. The performance of a release or launch of a project is similar to a college "grade". All of these projects are really just part of a larger process. It's important to, not just, have a successful project, but a successful campaign. 

The next step is what they don't teach you in school; the ability to adapt and improve your projects, or campaign, everyday thereafter. To me, this is the most exciting part of the process. This involves getting feedback from either people or data and then making the necessary changes to improve it.

Related: 5 Strategies For Big-Picture Thinking

Think of these projects as milestones in your long-term campaign. They are all contributing to the success of the company, the clients, and yourself.

I'd like to hear your experiences! Comment below if you thought I missed a topic that college doesn't teach.

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Topics: Prime Culture

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