We have all heard the horror stories of college internships. The coffee runs, manning the copying machine, filing papers. All seemingly pointless tasks that do little to provide insight or experience… which are what internships are ideally supposed to give you.

Then there are the internships that make such a positive impact that students come back saying it was the best thing they did in college.

I didn’t know which story I would end up telling when I accepted a Public Relations and Content Services internship this past semester at EVR Advertising.

Disclaimer: Coming in on my first day I was not even sure why I was doing this. I was basically working for free, not getting paid but still expected to treat the position like a real job. What a concept: Have someone do work for you and then NOT pay them?

However, according to 2013 article in MarketWatch, most students actually prefer internships that give them great experience to ones that pay well. I found that to be very true – the experience I gained during my internship was priceless.

I learned how to write press releases, draft web copy, write social media posts, understand what SEO, meta-tag and meta-descriptions are, as well as appreciate the importance the role of research plays within an agency. I learned all this in less than a semester, which I would not have believed was possible.

As I completed my last few weeks at EVR I saw how I grew as a student and as a person because of the experiences and knowledge I gained. I went from being uncertain about the internship experience to the person telling everyone that an internship will be the best thing that they can do in college.

A meaningful internship allows you to work with a real business doing real work before you graduate. You are not memorizing information for a grade, you are learning how to apply the information you have been taught.

Seeing how an advertising agency runs, learning from experienced individuals and having my work mean something in the professional world has given me so much more motivation to get to graduation as soon as possible.

The knowledge and experience I gained by doing an internship cannot compare to any class I have taken. This internship did not once feel like a job; I had an office full of fantastic people who worked to teach me as much as they could.

A note to every college student: Do an internship. In fact, do as many as you possibly can. Make sure they are meaningful and I promise you will learn more than you could ever imagine.

A note to every employer, business and company: Take on interns. Be teachers for these students. Give them real world experience that they would not otherwise get. Be leaders, guides and most importantly be someone that can give students an experience of a lifetime.

It’s an experience that pays off for everyone.

Shannon Murphy is a junior at UNH Manchester