It’s one of the most stressful times of the year: internship season. Not stressful for us, though, because I’m about to let you in on some tips, tricks and advice that will change your (intern) life.

Nashville, or Music City, is one of the best cities to be in when it comes to internships or job opportunities. What this city does best is music, lots and lots of music. Music is what draws many students to Nashville in the first place. Whether your dream is to take the world by storm on stage, talk strategy in music business, manage talented people, or anything in the melody realm, there are some great ways to get plugged in ASAP.

First, don’t be afraid to do some digging. Even the smallest companies, labels or management firms can give you great experience. Yes, we all know the labels on Music Row or companies like UMG and Warner Music (all incredible places to work), but aren’t you curious about all of the less-known places?

I’ve got a great one for you: Global Eyes Entertainment. The smaller the company, the more wiggle room to try new things and take the lead. With GEE, I worked directly with the CEO and was able to pick my own projects, build a relationship, tag along to rehearsals and in the end, run the PR branch of the company with my boss. I started out as just a social media intern and I probably would have never had these awesome opportunities if I had interned under a name-brand label.

Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with big companies. They’re fast-paced, there’s always room to grow and if you’re like Lipscomb senior Haley Gilliland, you love the outgoing atmosphere these companies offer. Gilliland is one of the lucky few Communication students that really get to experience entertainment journalism before the end of college, interning with big-name host of Rolling Stone Country Ashley Eicher.

“I was able to assist her at events such as a VEVO Live event for Facebook during CMA awards week. I got to help produce events and I was even able to meet Brett Young, Carly Pearce and more,” Gilliland told me.

However, for those of you who have picked a different career route, like marketing, PR or something in the business realm, there are just as many possibilities in store. I searched high and low to find my most recent internship, Marketing & Creative Network Intern at StudioNow. Due to the size and stellar reputation of the company, I was very intimidated.

Here I learned two very important things: 1) work environment matters, a lot (SN had office dogs and catered lunches)!  2) In order to get the most out of your internship experience, it is helpful to find a mentor like I did. Mine happened to be the Director of Business Development.

Even though I wasn’t technically in this department, I ended up helping him with some work and realized how much I loved a world that I never even knew I would be a part of. On my last day at the company, I was given some great advice from my mentor, “In order to grow, you have to move out to move up.”

Marketing is not all fun and social media though; there’s a (sometimes dreaded) key element: math. There are so many positions just waiting for those in Data or Computer Science, Accounting, etc. Even Forbes agrees that the Elliot Davis Decosimo “Envision” summer internship program in Nashville is in need of some serious recognition.

A former intern at this program said, “pay attention to the people and the culture within the firm(s) where you may intern. The people are what make/break a workplace environment.” In agreement, a former Lipscomb student, and recent intern for a startup app company, wasn’t happy with the work environment of the company and decided to leave the internship early.

“Office culture has a huge influence on whether you enjoy the job. Students forget that they’re allowed to leave if they’re not enjoying the experience,” said the Lipscomb Alumni.

If you don’t like your internship there is no reason that you should stay. It will just make you miserable; college and life are both too short for that.

Olivia’s Way is a biweekly style, culture and advice column by senior Olivia Waldorf.

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