I didn’t go where I planned, but it’s where I’m supposed to be

"Step Out of Your Box"
"Step out of your box," jotted on graph paper at work, is Madalyn Casady's mantra at her internship with Story Construction. Photo courtesy of Casady


By Madalyn Casady


Year in School: senior

Majors: agricultural business, public relations

Internship: marketing intern, Story Construction

Like many Iowa State students, I began my search for an internship at the fall career fairs. I focused my search within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences career fair for a simple reason: I am pursing degrees in agricultural business and public relations, and I wanted to test the waters in that area. I was in my second year and knew I wanted to get an internship under my belt before too long.

Applications were sent in. Hiring managers were contacting me. Interviews came almost weekly. I thought I had it in the bag. There was no way I wouldn’t get something for the summer.

Suddenly, it was January, and nothing was in my hands even close to an offer. I kept trying, but once March rolled around, I was starting to lose hope.

In late March, an email from PRSSA came into my inbox. A local company was looking for a summer marketing intern. This wasn’t a company I would have ever actually thought of. Why? It was a construction company. I knew nothing about construction and had never thought about working for one, but I knew this was probably my last chance at securing an actual internship, so I sent in my application, hoping for the best.

Once again, the interview came. I was told a decision would be made in two weeks.

The day came two weeks later for a decision. My cell phone rang, and I was expecting the same call of “sorry, but we decided to pursue other candidates.” Except, that didn’t happen with this call. I was, indeed, offered the position.

This experience taught me some incredible life and job searching advice. Below are my three biggest takeaways from the process.

  1. You most likely won’t get the first job you apply for, and maybe not even the several after that. It seems so intimidating when you get that first no, but whatever position that was, it was not meant to be your job. Sometimes, you will have to go through many no’s before you finally get a yes. I was told no at least nine times, probably more, before I finally was given an offer.

  2. Get in contact with career services. I know I was greatly benefitted by asking for help from a career services director. If you aren’t sure about reaching out to career services, ask your advisor, professor, or any other individual who is in the field or fields you are interested in. They are the best bridge in finding something you will enjoy, and they can even be a great reference for you in your applications.

  3. Don’t be afraid to look outside your comfort zone. This is the best advice I can give anyone struggling to secure an internship. If it wasn’t for the small glimmer of hope I had when that email came into my inbox that day, even if it was outside my initial path, I would have never been able to work for the amazing company I am this summer.

Internships are about testing the waters and seeing where you might want your career to go after Iowa State. So, in short, don’t give up, don’t get discouraged, ask for help, and try something new. You never know where that unexpected, long-awaited offer might take you.

Vote for this blog post in Round 1 of the 2019 Greenlee Summer Intern Blogging Competition. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on July 15. The author of the post that receives the most votes will receive the $50 Amazon gift card.