“Must have 3-5 years of experience”


This can be a challenging thing to find on a job application. As a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, I have memories of applying for countless jobs in which experience was heavily required. I was stuck in the irony of needing experience for a job, however, I also needed a job in order to gain experience.


By getting the opportunity to be involved with Elevate as an Experience Design Intern, I have gained industry-specific experience, learned general workplace best practices, and valuable life lessons. Here’s just a few of them, so buckle up and get ready for a ride.


What I Learned From Elevate


As a company that helps activate ideas, assisting in the production of live events is a crucial aspect of what we do. What comes along with that is the setup of AV equipment, hosting live audiences, and creating an overall experience. Through this, I have learned aspects of each area and been able to practice them tangibly either at an event through Elevate or within the different social spheres in which I engage in.


I remember my first event I attended with Elevate. I didn’t know the difference between an XLR and an RCA. Through studying, learning, and practicing, I was able to take a tangible hold of how to set-up production equipment and can finally hold my own in a deejay booth.


I was also given the opportunity to learn from the most talented Experience Leaders on this planet. Through watching and attending many events during my internship thus far, I have been able to learn better practices to hosting an event and creating an experience. Matt Peele, Elevate’s Director of Experience, infamously shared he does this by, “building a stage, creating a story, and then inviting others into it.”


Going hand in hand with this is something Billy Boughey, Elevate Founder & President, always speaks and that is “preparation precedes success.” This has been a game changer for how I think about designing an experience. Up until this point, I had simply approached every event I’ve been a part of with an I’m gonna wing it mentality. But these two schools of thought regarding what it takes to put on a class act event shows that it takes a lot of work and preparation to do so.


What I Learned About the Workplace


Before Elevate, I had never experienced the consistency of coming into work Monday through Friday, and arriving and leaving at the same time.


A couple things I was able to learn more about was the operational organization aspect of the office. Being someone who had only used a personal, physical calendar, I had never needed to share events and meetings with the whole organization to see. Learning how and when to use Google Calendar was tricky at first, but soon realized how effective of a tool it can be. Not to mention being able to use a Kanban board (such as leankit) for the first time helped my productivity on projects skyrocket.


Another aspect of the office was learning the importance of a brain break. When you are doing a job that requires more physical labor, you give your body a physical break a few times throughout the day. The same goes for when you are working your brain for a majority of the day. By experiencing the freedom to give my brain a break every once in awhile, I was able to focus on each project in intervals that allowed me to put forth my best effort through the duration of each task.


An entertaining way we were able to do this was through riding tricycles around the office, connecting with others during their brain break, and engaging in a Virtual Reality experience. As an intern, these are some habits I can learn to incorporate into my normal life and will carry with me further into my career.


What I Learned About Life


You Can Balance Work and Play


At the Elevate office, everyone has a really healthy balance of having fun while getting work done. Of course, most of the time everyone at the office is focused, in the zone, and going “heads-down” to crank out heavy projects. However, we all get along so well that we learn to have fun in the little things, such as talking to one another, organizing the warehouse, setting up for an event, or even just a small little glance into someone’s office as you pass by the door. No matter what job you do, you will need to work hard, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun along the way.


You Can Create a Job for Yourself


“What’s inside of you that’s not yet out in the world?”


While attending an event hosted by the Atlanta-based non-profit Plywood People, Joy Thigpen, Co-Founder of If I Made, inspired the crowd:


“Be really bold in your dreams. What is in you that is not yet in the world? Create things you wish existed. What do you want to do? That matters a lot. Give yourself permission to be really ridiculous in that.”


When’s the last time you honestly answered the question “what do you want to do?” We often say something that seems ‘realistic’. But what if no one would judge you for what you said? It could sound ridiculous to you, but I’m sure there are a lot of jobs out there that seemed ridiculous at the point of inception. Elevate’s department leaders are a great example of “creating jobs for themselves.” Essentially, they took their skills and strengths and were able to find a way to apply them to the needs Elevate had.


This was inspiring to me because in a world where there seem to be too little jobs out there, remember that you have important skills and assets limited only to you and that you have a way to make a living with them. Instead of saying to others that you need a job, how about flip it and challenge yourself by saying a job needs me.


Love What You Do


This is a big-daddy tidbit here that many people forget to take into account. This whole time I have been at Elevate, I have been able to wake up each morning and be excited to go to work. Each day the clock strikes 4:30 pm and I start to get sad because that means I have to leave in thirty minutes. As I leave the office I wish everyone a fond farewell and excitingly proclaim “I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!” How often do you get to do that? All too often we get stuck in the “GOT to” jobs and forget it’s possible to have a “GET to” career. A quote that sticks out to me is one by the popular artist named Andrew W.K. in which he proclaims in his song, ‘Party Hard’ that “We do what we like, so we like what we do.”


What ways can you do what you like and make a living out of it? Go ahead. Push forward and do something that you like so that, you may too, like what you do.


In total, being an Experience Design Intern with Elevate has been an incredible opportunity. I learned trade specific techniques as well as general business skills. I was able to grow as a lifelong learner and gain insight into myself and my innate strengths. Not only have I learned how to truly design a high-quality experience, but I’ve learned valuable lessons I can take away and incorporate into my daily life.


As my internship draws to a close, I realize I will soon be asked the classic question: “How would you describe your internship?” Luckily for myself, I already know the answer to this. I will happily respond with the famous words of the great Notorious B.I.G., “If you don’t know, well now you know.”

Interested in interning with Elevate in the future? Follow us on social media and be the first to know when our application process opens for the summer!