Marren Pollack interned with Illinois Cheer Enterprises and gained experience in office management and customer service.
How did you get your internship and what was the focus of the experience?
I completed my internship at Illinois Cheer Enterprises (ICE) because I had been an athlete for the company before and they were part of my network. I talked to the manager and together we came up with the idea for my internship activities. With my experience in the past at ICE, I felt I had more I could learn from the staff, athletes, and parents.
The original focus for my internship was to be a personal assistant for the manager. However, the position quickly included assisting the office manager because there was also help needed in that area of the company. My work included creating and sending out informational emails, helping parents as they asked questions or had concerns, and assisting the gym manager with anything he needed. Some transferable skills I gained from this experience were customer service, how to work under high stress situations, and patience when plans change. I also developed my communication skills as I learned how to compose emails and information in a manner that is easy to understand for parents and athletes. I also really developed my organization skills, because I did a lot of organizing athlete information and paying attention to billing information.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
The best part of my internship was the relationships I built with the staff and the athletes. It is so much fun to celebrate the successes of both the staff and kids and it is super fulfilling. I also enjoyed the personal interactions I had with the parents and kids. Though some days were difficult and not all interactions were positive it was still helpful in building my communication and relationship building skills.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
What I found most challenging about my internship was dealing with the attitudes of difficult people. I feel that it is important to stay positive because no matter how difficult someone is, you cannot let it affect your day. Another challenging aspect of my internship was that plans could change with little or no notice. It really helped me learn the lesson that nothing is set - even at work - and that you always need to roll with the punches.