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The Unintended Internship



Most internships don’t happen by accident, but in my case that’s exactly what happened – an unintended internship.  My journey (an unbelievable one) to become an advertising intern at Pierce-Cote Advertising was one like no other.

After being misdiagnosed with a rare form of cancer by doctors in Florida earlier this spring,  (yes, you read that right: MISdiagnosed) I withdrew from college at the University of Tampa and moved back in with my family on Cape Cod to start cancer treatment in Boston.  No easy task when you’re in the middle of spring semester with midterms coming up and have a lease on a house with roommates.

Being from Massachusetts, I am so lucky to have some of the best cancer hospitals in the world at my disposal.  The oncologists at Mass General Hospital told me I had Stage 2 cancer and would have to do a month of chemo-radiation therapy.  Only being 20 years old, I was shocked and devastated by the news and it derailed my life. 

The night before I was supposed to start my treatment, I got a fateful phone call that changed everything.  There had been a mistake in my pathology report from the doctors in Florida – I didn’t have cancer after all and there would be no chemo or radiation.  A range of emotions came over me – a mix of happiness, frustration and anger.  This nightmare motivated me to make the most of my time on Cape.

Going into my senior year (an important one) as an Advertising and Public Relations major, I didn’t want my time away from my studies to be a waste; so I started looking for jobs and internships in the area.

An internship with Pierce-Cote Advertising fell right into my lap.  The company’s president, Rebecca Pierce-Merrick, happened to be a client of my mother (a Pilates instructor).  That saying, “its not what you know, its who you know”, came into play.  As it turned out, Pierce Cote was looking for an intern and I was an ideal candidate (especially considering my extraordinary circumstances).

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  I would have never found this internship if I hadn’t been misdiagnosed.

Through my internship at Pierce-Cote, I have learned the ins and outs of the advertising biz and the culture of an advertising agency.  It has allowed me to utilize my skills from my college courses and gain valuable insight into an ever-changing industry.  I’m so thankful for the strong foundation that has been built for my future career in advertising and public relations at Pierce-Cote.  Wherever life takes me, I will always remember my first internship and my journey to get it.

-Joe Healy

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