Internship takeaways: What I learned during my 4 months with #TeamMoonsail

internship takeaways (1)
By Emily Mata

Internships are a learning experience. Heading into my internship with Moonsail North, my goals were to be exposed to agency life, grow as a professional, get hands-on experience and expand my skillset. In the four short months I have spent interning with #TeamMoonsail, I have learned more than I could have ever anticipated. Interning with a start-up meant that I had the privilege of wearing many hats. I got a taste of event planning with our ribbon cutting event, I was allowed to step outside of my comfort zone (in a safe space) by doing a social media training and presentation, I learned how to organize and send out monthly newsletters and I was exposed to new website management systems and social media management platforms, in addition to being allowed to flex my creative muscles with ideas for blog posts, content curation and retreat ideas. The plethora of new experiences, people, and skills will serve me well in future jobs. Surprisingly, the career experience and skills are, arguably, not the most important things I gained while interning with #TeamMoonsail, but rather, the relationships I formed and the life lessons I learned, which will stay with me long after my internship has ended.

Here’s a look at some of the invaluable lessons each member of #TeamMoonsail has taught me:

Scott taught me that knowing — and understanding — yourself is critical:
One of the first things I was asked to do at Moonsail North was take the Myers-Briggs personality test. Unsurprisingly, my personality type was INFP-T, meaning that I’m an introvert. Don’t get me wrong — I love people. While I love spending time with people, I also need to spend a fair amount of time by myself to recharge. As Amy Schumer so eloquently explained, “if you’re a true introvert, people are like energy vampires.” At first I worried that being an introvert would be frowned upon for a professional communicator, but both Scott and Sedora are introverts as well, and also happen to be two of the most talented communicators — and people —  I’ve ever come across. Identifying my personality type has allowed me to better understand both myself and the people around me, as well as better manage my time and energy. All in all, I’m a more well-rounded, balanced person because of it.

Rose taught me not to be afraid to go after what you want:
Prior to my internship with Moonsail North, I had never worked for a small business. After spending four months with #TeamMoonsail I can’t imagine not working for one. Working with entrepreneurs is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced — their hard work, determination and grit are unparalleled. I’ve watched Rose take conference calls for her business startup while holding her human startup in her arms (I’ve also seen Scott typing furiously away with one hand while holding Kai in the other like it’s nbd), and I’ve often wondered if there is anything that Rose Tantraphol and Scott Swanson can’t do. Being a small business owner isn’t easy — but most things worth having aren’t. Being a member of #TeamMoonsail inspired me to go after my own dreams — like starting my own cookie business on the side — no matter how big or how much hard work stands in the way.

Sedora taught me the importance of work-life balance:
As a self-proclaimed workaholic, work-life balance has never been my forte. For the duration of my college career — and now post grad — my work schedule has consisted of early mornings and late nights with little time for much else. Believe it or not, I never really thought much of it. I come from a family of very hard working people — my dad routinely worked 12 hour days at work in addition to having his own side business. My maternal grandfather is 76 years old, and even after retiring from General Motors, still farms 458 acres of land. Likewise, my paternal grandpa is 98 years old and still takes care of his own farm and livestock. It wasn’t until I began working with #TeamMoonsail — and saw all of Sedora’s impressive weekend Instagrams —  that I realized that all work and no play was actually disadvantageous. I realized that spending every waking hour focused on being productive was actually, in some ways, counterproductive. Since starting with Moonsail North in May, I have begun regularly taking time to do things — non-work related things — I enjoy. I’ve spent more time with friends, I’ve read more (novels — not textbooks!),  I’ve decorated more cakes and cookies, and I began painting again for the first time since my nephew was born. In doing so, I’ve felt more creative, more inspired and, believe it or not, more productive.

Katie taught me to embrace your interests — and your quirks:
I’ve never met anyone as passionate about sharks as Katie Stiefel. A self-proclaimed shark fin-atic, Katie can tell you everything about sharks — and not just your run-of-the-mill Great White, either — all kinds. She has loads of shark memorabilia, as well — shark soap, shark socks, shark decor. When she isn’t fan-girling over sharks, Katie can be found traveling around Pure Michigan or relaxing in a hammock. In fact, everyone on #TeamMoonsail has something — or multiple things — that they’re incredibly passionate about and invested in. For Rose, it’s ashtanga yoga and chai. Scott loves flamenco guitar, soccer and bad kung fu movies. Sedora is a foodie and travel junkie. Being a member of #TeamMoonsail made me realize that our quirks and nuances are what make each of us unique — no matter how off-the-beaten-path they may be. In doing so, I’ve embraced my love of cacti and succulents, painting and decorating cakes.

At the end of the day, internships are what you make of them. When doing an internship — or anything — you have to know yourself, know what you want and not be afraid to go after it. Also remember not to get so engrossed in your work that you forget, or neglect, to have time to enjoy non-work related things, too. Like everything else in life, the more effort you put into your internship, the more you’ll get out of it.

My cousin Chad is constantly reminding me, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Until I began working for Moonsail North, I thought that aphorism was garbage. Since I began working at 16, I’ve had a lot of jobs — and they all felt like work, no matter how much I liked them. But being part of #TeamMoonsail was different. Working for Moonsail North didn’t feel like a job — it felt like I was being paid to do what I loved (and hang out with really cool, interesting people). Being part of #TeamMoonsail has made me realize that I am, beyond a shadow of a doubt, on the right career path. I’m beyond thankful for the last four months — for the experiences, the relationships and the life lessons. Thanks for having me, #TeamMoonsail!