A Lesson Outside the Classroom

Kristen Olson | Treefrog Marketing

As a new Purdue grad headed on to graduate school, my internship at Treefrog Marketing was supposed to fill a “gap summer” with some hands-on experience in the communication field. What it actually did was fill a gap in my college experience. Here’s my final project from my summer semester as a Treefrogger.

Assignment #1: Define “Workplace Culture”

A workplace is what you make it. There is no committee whose job it is to decide what does and does not belong in your office space – “yes, you may all write in purple pen,” “no, you may not stick pink Post-It love notes on your coworkers’ computers,” “please stop bringing in brownies; you’re ruining everyone’s new year’s resolutions.” While monitoring office culture and employee morale may be a responsibility for those who supervise, regulating it is usually not.

keyboard-1395316_960_720I’ve come to realize that if you want to work in the kind of office that brings in birthday treats, celebrates obscure holidays,
posts interesting Internet finds on the bulletin board, and keeps a fresh vase of flowers by the restroom sink, it’s up to
you to make your office that kind of place. This was especially apparent to me as an intern at Treefrog: watching employees tidy up the office (not just their own spaces) before leaving for the weekend, swapping personal news stories (“This is my cat. These are my cat’s paws. This is my cat on a chair.”), getting up to move every 90 minutes (because sitting really is the new smoking – it’s unhealthy), or partaking in group tea time after one coworker’s committed relationship with Downton Abbey and subsequent trip to the UK. My fellow Treefroggers put in every effort to make this workplace what they want it to be, and as a result, they enjoy the time they spend here.

Assignment #2: Research


researchAs a new intern, writing blogs for clients and creating social media content for the various social media platforms they utilize required me to do my fair share of research. It’s true what they say about the folks who work in content – we really do know a lot of unusual information. Of all my research projects in college, looking up the correct way to pour and sip whiskey for a bar company was probably more fun than any of them. Moreover, I actually enjoyed researching the topics almost as much as I enjoyed writing the content, and that was a revelation for me. Research doesn’t have to be a chore; it’s an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of some of the finer things in life – like the pros and cons of drywall vs. plaster, how to successfully organize the world’s smallest rental apartment, and the particular
je ne sais quoi that quarter-round can add to any baseboard.

I’ve learned that research isn’t just for the classroom or the office, though. Scanning through countless pages of Facebook posts and company webpages, I’ve come to realize that researching in your daily life can hold benefits abound. Companies want you to learn about them and connect with them. Going online to follow their pages or check their Twitter feed can open you up to a world of information, tips, and possibly a few free giveaways. All you have to do is look them up.

Assignment #3: Publish

wordpress-265132_960_720Many of today’s students have never published anything longer than 140 characters, so they might not be aware of the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing something you personally labored over displayed proudly, publicly online for the world to see. I certainly wasn’t. The first time I saw my work posted online, I felt like a proud mama bird watching her chicks leave the nest (or something to that effect).

It’s strange to realize that someone worked hard to write everything you see – everywhere. That bus stop ad, the instructions that came with your refrigerator, each little blurb under every search result online – each was created, nurtured, edited, defended, and loved by a content team somewhere before being sent on its way. To have been a part of that process, especially for some of the local businesses here in Lafayette, feels like the world has become just a little bit smaller.

As my summer semester wraps up, the only thing I’m left wondering is why more college students don’t take advantage of opportunities like interning at Treefrog – and why I didn’t do so earlier.

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Treefrog Marketing is an advertising agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.