When I told my friends that I wanted to “wintern” during the holiday break, they thought I was crazy. After an intense fall semester, most of them were eager to relax. Thoughts about beach days, high school reunions and Miami nightlife kept them sane through finals week.

But the idea of 27 days of inactivity made me antsy and I thought about volunteering or getting a seasonal job. Eventually, I decided to look for a mini internship instead.

I emailed my resume and a blurb of intent to 15 magazines and PR firms. As the end of the semester approached I started researching the “yes” companies to see which one suited me best.

That’s when I received a reply from Buck, of NewmanPR, pointing out that typically he did not respond to “To Whom It May Concern” emails because it showed that the applicant wasn’t serious enough to research who the unsolicited job pitch should be addressed to. Nevertheless, he decided to make an exception and offer me a position as a temporary intern.

After rereading the email, with its lesson on professional etiquette, I realized the choice was clear. Other replies had been more upbeat, but this was the only email that taught me something. I was gaining knowledge before stepping foot in the office and that made NewmanPR stand out.

Two weeks later, I was driving from Gainesville down to Miami for my first winternship. I had heard the stereotypes about moody PR girls and didn’t know what to expect. Because I had always wanted to see the inner workings of a PR agency, I decided to be openminded and push my preconceived notions aside.

This mindset allowed me to see that the staff was welcoming and that my co-workers were nothing like the stereotypes I had heard about before.

I was surprised that, even though I was a temporary intern, they had created a schedule for me with a list of tasks and projects. The promise of productivity made me eager to start and I knew I had made the right choice.

While my friends were sleeping in and hanging out at the beach, I was gaining some invaluable experience. Not so crazy now, huh?

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