Current situation: enjoying a cup of coffee at Shakespeare & Co. No, not the one on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, but the OG one on 37 rue de la Bûcherie in Paris, giving you a lovely view of the Notre-Dame (half in construction right now, but still pretty!) As you can tell, life brought me to Paris, where I am doing a semester of study abroad at ESCE International Business School.
As you can tell, I’ve also been MIA on my blog since like… May? Not because I haven’t had anything to write about. In fact, I had quite a few transforming life experiences lately that helped me grow and learn, but sometimes you’re so stuck in life’s waves that you forget how to ride them properly. Please deal with my metaphors. However, as written on a sticky note on my laptop, Paris exists to remind you that your dreams are real, so here I am now, unleashing my inner writer again. Starting my ‘I’m back on the blog’ series with a post about my last six months, I’m going to talk about my first co-op experience and working in America.
If you’re following my digital content, you are probably familiar with my blog post about What It’s Like to Go to a Co-Op School and my new YouTube video on my co-op experience, where I am also answering some of the questions I received about working in America. The video is really informative about what is a co-op, how it was to work in a media agency, and working in the United States in general. Here, on the blog, I’d like to be a little bit more subjective and tell you more insights about my last six months.
As a sum up, I worked as a Media Tech Analyst for Publicis Health Media, the only media agency solely dedicated to the health and wellness space. Well, you know, I was basically marketing drugs on the internet. Not even joking!
First of all, I couldn’t ask for a better company to work for, for my first job ever. I was lucky enough to be in a really friendly, flexible, young environment and to have a manager that… well, was much more than a ‘superior’. She became my friend, helper in moments of need (such as being homesick for the first time in my life), and hero when I had too much on my plate for my job. It’s so important to have a good mentor at the beginning of your career, I truly feel that this dictates how much you are going to like the job. Having someone who really understood my personality and who wanted to give me all the experiences I wished for felt so relieving. Thank you a million, Sammie! Did I want more human connection? She made sure I met people from all around the agency and took me in all her meetings (even if, real talk, I barely understood 10% of what was discussed in the beginning)! Did I want to learn about what the Media team does? She helped me schedule a full day of Media shadowing. Did I want to use my content creation skills in my co-op? She put me in touch with the Business Development team to help with the company’s content strategies. Having so much help and understanding made me feel like I was part of the team, a team that offered me much more than I could have ever imagined.
I also realized that I love the agency setting. Every day is different! Even though your core tasks might be the same, there are always new campaigns, new ideas to be discussed and new situations to be brought up in meetings. Personally, this is the kind of work lifestyle I like having. Paradoxically, the environment is pretty lax, but at the same time you have many deadlines that need to be respected. This gives it a false casualness, as everyone is, in reality, rushing to the next meeting, task, deadline. The work has to be delivered quickly and well-done, which requires a lot of attention to detail and organizing skills.
Since I am talking about skills needed, you definitely need communication, teamwork, time management, and a lot of attention to detail (in my specific role, which was more analytical). Not a skill necessarily, but I also feel that, especially in your first job ever, you need courage: courage to make yourself heard, go out of your way to connect with the people you admire in the company, and ask for work! If I didn’t put myself in uncomfortable situations (such as participating in meetings, learning about what other teams are doing, or showing gratitude to the higher-ups), I wouldn’t have advanced my knowledge in the field.
Now that you know the bright side, time to list out the things I didn’t quite enjoy: having to be in a place for 8 hours per day killed my soul in the first two months, sometimes I felt like my tasks were too repetitive, and I would have liked more creativity in my work. All of these made me realize that, for the future, I will most likely be looking for more creative/strategic positions. As for the full-time schedule, I guess I’ll just have to accept and stick with it for a while, but definitely not my scene.
All in all, I’m truly grateful for my first co-op experience. It showed me how much more there is to learn about the digital marketing field and taught me how a media agency flows. I met so many incredible people who became my friends and I’m happy to know that now I have my own little second family back in Philadelphia.
Now that I’m studying in Paris, I can’t wait to see what this lovely city is going to offer me! It’s already a dream, and the school here has such an international outlook in all the classes they offer. It also fits my taste for art, beauty and fashion perfectly! Keep following my stories for more insights.
If you made it until here, thank you and hope you enjoyed the post! Don’t hesitate to ask me anything about co-op, studying abroad, or life in general!