The Challenge I Was Waiting For

This morning I got a fresh challenge at my internship–probably the kind of challenge I’ve really been wanting all semester. In recent weeks particularly, I’ve been occasionally frustrated with some of the tedious work I’ve been stuck doing, given that I’m the only part-time intern in the office. Today I was assigned to take on the brunt of the work for a brand new project–a big one–and one that I’ll spend considerable time on for for the remainder of my time at MS&L.

Obviously I can’t give too much detail, but the challenge is two-fold: First, simply completing the project. This is something unlike anything I’ve ever done, and despite my briefing this morning, I’m still not 100% sure what to expect. I’m certainly hoping for smooth sailing, but in this job, smooth sailing is never, ever guaranteed. Secondly, it’s about completing the project on time and (hopefully) under budget.

In PR agencies, we bill work by the hour. Because of that, the first step in a project is setting the budget and estimating the amount of time each position will require to fulfill their duties–not an exact science. For this project, we determined this morning that the initial budget issued me far too much time for what, as far as I can tell, should take a relatively small amount of time. So we cut my hours for that phase of the project in half. For another, we cut them by one third. For another, by a half again. In all, we cut several thousand dollars worth of time from the project. I’m not concerned, but in fact, I kind of like it. This project gives me a challenge–not only do I need to complete quality work, but I’ve got a timer, now, too.

I’m realizing more and more that I work best in “crunch mode.” It’s stressful, and I usually freak out a little and don’t sleep much (hence I’m writing this at 3:09 a.m.), but it’s when I’m on a tight deadline, with lots of stuff to do, that I produce my best work in the most efficient way. It works.

The next two weeks will put my endurance to the test like never before. In addition to tackling this project at work I’ll be completing my honors communication capstone project (sneak preview here, for those of you interested), finishing a final paper for my last (!) general education required course, preparing for three final exams, completing two final course portfolios, giving my final speech for public speaking, and trying to figure out what’s the next internship I’m going to tackle (but more on that in another post–soon). And of course, squeezing in a few more posts here before the end of the semester. It’s going to be an insane adventure, but I’m pumped for it.

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