Going home: How I got an internship with my hometown school district

Rachel Ori, far left, is spending her summer as a communications intern for her hometown school district.

Name: Rachel Ori

Year in School: Senior

Major: Public Relations

Position: communications intern, Ankeny Community School District

When I graduated from Ankeny High School in 2016, I never imagined I would be back in the district school system. Little did I know, I was wrong.

This summer, I am a communications intern for the Ankeny Community School District. I couldn’t stay away for long.

I began to look for a summer internship in October 2017. I was open to interning nearly anywhere, as long as it was within the communications field. I began to slowly apply for various positions, thinking I had plenty of time.

Fast forward to April 2018. I had applied for over 40 internships and had completed one interview, all with no success.

To say I was a bit stressed would be an understatement. For a few weeks, I was convinced I would have to put off an internship until the fall semester. If that had happened, it would have shaken up my carefully constructed three-year plan. The thought of the immediate future left me feeling constantly anxious during this time, unsure of what to do next.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make a few panicked calls home. However, my über-supportive parents believed in me even when I didn’t. They told me I would find something for the summer and to just wait it out. And as usual, they were right. (Don’t tell them I said that.)

The Ankeny Community School District was my saving grace. After I received what felt like my hundredth rejection email, I searched for “internships in Ankeny, Iowa.” Thank goodness for key terms, because that search resulted in me stumbling upon an internship post from the ACSD. I immediately sent in my resume, cover letter and writing samples.

A month later, and with continued patience and faith, I had my internship locked down. Finding an internship can be incredibly hard, especially without a connection or foot in the door. However, I can say that all the stress and anxiety resulted in me finding my perfect internship.

I thoroughly enjoy my position. On a daily basis, I write blog posts for district officials, photograph and post about district events and draft communications plans for various city projects. Outside of the direct work, my supervisor and coworkers are some of the nicest, most helpful individuals I’ve ever met.

My favorite part of the job though? Applying all my seemingly useless knowledge of my hometown. Can I drive to Ankeny High School? Sure, I can do that in my sleep. Which elementary schools are on the south-side? Terrace, Crocker, Prairie Trail and Rock Creek. Where is the nearest coffee shop? Across the street.

Rejection is hard, and something that I had no prior experience with. My internship hunt taught me to not only believe in myself and my skills but to have faith that everything will work out in the end. Most importantly, it made me appreciate all the people in my life who had my back and picked me up when I felt down.

There are major perks to working in my hometown. My office is an approximate 12-minute drive from my house. I get to spend time with my family, friends and cat on a regular basis. I even have enough time each morning to grab a venti caramel iced coffee with cream from my Hy-Vee Starbucks.

Two years ago, I was ready to leave my hometown behind. However, it wasn’t ready to see me go. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Vote for this blog post in Round 1 of the 2018 Greenleee Summer Intern Blogging Competition. Voting opens at 12:15 p.m. CST on July 9 and closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on July 16. The author of the post that receives the most votes will receive the $50 Amazon e-gift card.