Switching Paths: From Professional to Intern
Peter Panda | Director of Animal Stuff
The following post is by Joslyn Stone, an Elasticity intern and recent graduate from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in communication. The mother of a spirited 13-year-old, Joslyn has particular aspirations and a passion for working in the non-profit sector. She’s also an avid baker, an adequate painter and an indoor gardener — likely bearing a slight obsession with house plants (with more than 50 between her house and office right now).

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Going back to school in your mid-thirties to change careers is a giant leap. Getting a degree in communications was far different than the fine arts degree I pursued in the past. Going from being a career call-center-girl to entering the world of public relations has been quite the adventure for me.

The whole experience was nothing like I had expected (although I don’t really know what I was expecting). I thought that my classes would provide me with all the knowledge and experience I would need to break into the field and hit the ground running. But as I neared graduation, I quickly realized this was not the case. To top it off, I was trying to do all this in the middle of a global pandemic. I never thought at 36 years old, this endeavor would lead to me doing an unpaid internship, but here I am.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My current job isn’t bad and it comes with some great perks (like free shoes). I don’t necessarily want to quit, but it’s not what I am passionate about. I want to feel like the work I’m doing is making a difference. To do that, I need to follow the advice of the illustrious David Bowie and turn to face the strange (ch-ch) changes.

Breaking into an entirely different career has proven to be a challenge at this stage in my life. I needed to get more experience under my belt to be taken seriously, but even most entry-level positions wanted more than what I had. So, to get the experience I needed, I started reaching out to different PR firms in the St. Louis area to see if any would be willing to give a fresh graduate a chance.

Most of the PR firms I found wanted someone full time, for a few months over the summer when most college kids are between classes. When you have a mortgage to pay and a family to support, that is not really an option. When I came across Elasticity, it was like finding a unicorn. They were looking for part-time, remote interns and they have Tank Top Tuesdays! This would give me the flexibility to keep my current 9-5, learn some new skills and still have time with my family.

I’ve been extremely lucky. With everything being done virtually, I get to make my own schedule for the most part. My job gives me all the time I need to meet with the team at Elasticity and to work on my assignments. I feel challenged, but not overwhelmed, and I actually look forward to seeing what I will get to do next.

I’ve only been at it for about six months, but in that time, I have learned so much. My writing and communication skills have improved and I feel like I am really finding my voice. While I haven’t landed my dream job yet, I know this internship will be instrumental to finding it.

Peter Panda
Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist. In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time. With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.
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