As my internship here at redpepper hits its halfway point, I’ve been taking time to reflect on some of the most valuable lessons that this experience has taught me so far. This internship has been more impactful than I could have ever hoped for, and I am so grateful to work at a place that offers so many opportunities for involved, hands-on learning to its interns. The growth that I have already experienced here--and that I am sure I will continue to experience--is nothing short of monumental. As a young professional, I have developed skills that I know will prepare me for a future in whatever career I choose to pursue. As a creative, I have been pushed to take a unique approach to solving problems and encouraged to explore unconventional and creative paths. And as a person, I have learned invaluable communication skills and built relationships with mentors and friends that I know will extend beyond the end of my time here at redpepper.

But this growth took time. Walking through the double doors of the redpepper office on my first day on the job, I was intimidated and unsure--uncertain of where I would fit, what I would do, the impact I would have, and the impact that others would have on me. As all hopeful redpepper interns should (hopefully) know, one of the core values is “we actively support personal growth.” This belief in growth applies to every employee at every level of the company--from executives to interns. It is an expectation that growth and learning is prioritized every day, but let’s be honest, this can be hard for a wide-eyed, intimidated intern. 

But here’s what I’ve learned: sometimes you have to grow into growth. Here’s how I did it. 

1. Take advantage of the relationships redpepper has to offer

Through the internship, you’ll be assigned a mentor who will act as your go-to person as you go throughout your time here. Use that relationship: debrief with your mentor, ask for feedback and grow from it. Your mentor is an expert in their field, and you have access to their knowledge and expertise. Don’t shy away from fostering a relationship that will enhance your experience more than you could ever anticipate. 

2. Explore new areas and widen your network

With relationships in mind, expand your reach beyond your mentor and your department. Through Coffee and Questions, you will be given the opportunity to learn about all aspects of agency life--strategy, design, production, and more. No matter how intimidated and inexperienced you feel, be bold, and ask all the questions you can. 

3. Take initiative and own your experience

The internship program was structured with growth in mind. This internship is not about menial tasks and coffee runs; it’s about learning, building relationships, exploring agency life, and taking part in the work at redpepper. You alone have control over the relationships you build and the experiences you have. To grow, owning your internship and taking advantage of every relationship and opportunity is a must. Embrace the ambiguity of your internship, and never shy away from taking initiative. As a redpepper intern, you will be given all of the resources that you need to succeed. Every person here is more than willing to help you on your growth journey, but ultimately, it falls on you. 

You are the master of your learning and growth. When you come to that realization and actively choose to embrace the redpepper intern experience, that is when you will experience maximum growth.