What’s better than a listicle? 3 mini-listicles, of course!

My last day as an intern is fast approaching and it’s making me all sorts of nostalgic. I’m really going to miss this place (I’ll probably never get to have meetings on a putt-putt course again), but I’ve learned so much over the past 3 months and I wanted to quantify that somehow… so this listicle was born.

(And now I’m going to stop using that word, because I hate it.)

The best things about interning at redpepper:

  1. Dogs – literally all the time. I don’t think there was a single day I came into the office when there wasn’t at least one dog running around. It’s a dream.
  2. The office – the workspace is unreal. From a ping pong table in the lobby to a putt-putt course, redpepper places a huge emphasis on work and play, and that is definitely reflected in their work environment.
  3. CreateAthon – holy crap what an awesome experience. If you’re unfamiliar, CreateAthon is a 24-hour creative sprint where we work (for free) for some really deserving nonprofits. It gets really fun around 3am.
  4. The people – everyone here is so freaking talented. I spent most of my time just trying to absorb everything like some sort of thought-osmosis. Thanks to them, my best is better.
  5. The intern project – the only guideline is that it has to be something that will benefit the company, so you really have an opportunity to do something that you’re interested in. I lost track of how many hours I spent on mine simply because I enjoyed it so much.
  6. … and did I mention dogs?

The worst things about interning at redpepper:

  1. They’ve set my standards too high for all future job prospects.
  2. Bringing your dog to work is merely optional and not compulsory. 
  3. ??????

Honestly, that’s all I’ve got. This experience has been so extremely positive that I can’t believe I ever considered not applying. Working here has made me both a better person and a better designer, and for that I am grateful. I can’t even really believe how much I learned in just 3(!) months, but there are a few nuggets of wisdom I’d like to leave for posterity:

  1. There is a direct correlation between the work you put into this internship and what you get out of it. 
  2. There’s no such thing as an unimportant project.
  3. Similarly, don’t half-ass anything.
  4. The printer will stop working when you least expect it. I’m pretty sure it does this just to keep you on your toes.
  5. To steal one of the tenets of my sorority, you should practice, “cheerfulness at all times and under all circumstances.”
  6. Find something to get excited about, whether it’s your intern project or making a perfect batch of coffee.
  7. Move around the office often. It’s the best way to meet people.
  8. Think of working on your intern project like voting in Chicago – you should do it early and often.
  9. Get involved in as much stuff as you can. You can learn a helluva lot from just sitting in on meetings.
  10. Take notes. I know you think you’ll remember that thing that person said, but you won’t. And then you’ll have to ask and it’ll be awkward.
  11. Make friends with the other interns. You’re all in the same boat. And chances are they’re pretty cool.
  12. It’s always cold on the first floor. Bring a jacket.

On my first day, Jaron (a senior art director) asked me what I was hoping to get out of this internship and I replied, “real-world experience.” He laughed and told me that redpepper isn’t the real world. I think I understand now what he meant by that, and as far as I can tell, he was 100% right - redpepper might not be indicative of the “real world,” but I so wish that it was. And while I may no longer be working in this office, because of this experience I will forever continue to actively hustle & grow.

Caitlyn Marsh, Graphic Design Intern, Long Grove, IL