As I made my way to Altitude Marketing on the first day of my summer public relations and social media internship, I was feeling just about every kind of emotion there is. Excitement, apprehension, eagerness, uncertainty – they were all there, and that was just the tip of the emotional iceberg.

AWI had missed my “real” first day due to a horribly timed flu virus – leaving my sometimes-irrational brain to wonder if maybe this was an omen warning me of things to come. Luckily though, my brain was way off, and with cough drops in hand, I made my way to the office that would become my second home for the next four months.

Having just finished up my sophomore year at Syracuse University (Go Cuse!) as a public relations major, I really had no idea what to expect from my first “real-life” internship. I knew that Andrew Stanten, Altitude’s president, was a Syracuse alum (he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1991 from Newhouse), but all I really hoped for was to learn something valuable.

Altitude gave me all of that and more.

Everyone was incredibly welcoming when I arrived, which made me feel like I was part of the team from day one, and not just “the intern.” I was quickly given the nickname “A-Dubbs” in order to avoid confusion with the other Amanda in the office, and just like that, I was ready to get started.

Immediately, I was given actual work to do, and not just the “intern-y tasks” I had envisioned. I wrote and distributed press releases for actual clients, managed client social media accounts (including Twitter, Facebook. LinkedIn, and Google +), created customer satisfaction surveys, developed communication plans, worked on WordPress websites, and even attended a client open house, where I met a U.S. Congressman and networked with a reporter from a local newspaper.

Moreover, I learned the ins and outs of a B2B marketing firm and how much work goes into maintaining a positive relationship with clients and employees alike, which is something you cannot learn from sitting in a classroom.

That being said, I did have a few intern-like tasks I had to do, such as taking out the trash, getting lunch for the weekly Lunch & Learns, and making the occasional Starbucks run. However, everyone at the office was always gracious and I received a lot of free food, so really, I can’t complain.

The whole PR/Social Media team at Altitude was also great to work with. Kelly, the director of digital marketing and my supervisor, was incredibly accommodating, always answering my questions and encouraging me to maximize my experience by involving me in a variety of projects and meetings. Lauren, the PR, social media and events coordinator, was tremendously helpful as well, especially during the end of the month when we were tasked with writing up the monthly reports for all of Altitude’s clients.

All in all it was the perfect first internship experience, and I feel like I learned more valuable skills and acquired more knowledge in those four months than I ever could have anticipated. Not only did I get to experience public relations and marketing in the real world, but I also saw how a team of individuals could come together to produce an outstanding final product for their clients – which is something I can carry with me wherever my future career may take me. For once, I actually feel prepared and confident (not to mention excited!) about my future – and that’s all because of Altitude.

So thanks again to the team– Kelly, Lauren, Jaime, Andrew, Ebony, Gwen, Adam, Austin, Matt, Drew, and Amanda – for making me feel like part of a great company, rather than just “that intern.” Maybe I’ll even have people call me A-Dubbs at college, because to be honest, it’s a pretty cool nickname.

– by Amanda ‘A-Dubbs’ Woodward