This blog post is going be very self-involved and maybe not too interesting, so I apologize in advance, but I thought I should end this thing up with a summary of what I have gained from my time at the Ester Republic. Because I registered in the Internship Notation Program, I made three basic goals for my internship at the beginning of the summer. These were to learn interview skills, learn to write interesting and informative articles on a variety of subjects, and learn how to incorporate social media into journalism, and I think I have made some headway in each of these areas. I made a professional Facebook page and created a Twitter account, but I didn’t use them extensively, so I definitely accomplished more in the first two goals than in the third. Now I feel much more confident interviewing strangers on a multitude of topics than I did at the beginning of the summer. I also believe I have improved my writing skills, since I have had experience with a new format that I don’t typically use during the academic year.
I have learned that being a professional in an internship is a much different experience than being a student. In college, the only thing you really have to worry about is theoretical knowledge. It is passable, if not encouraged, to show up to class in sweatpants with breakfast in tow. In an internship, it is important to use theoretical knowledge in conjunction with practical skills, so it is a more rounded experience. This summer, it was just as important to remember little things like changing the batteries in a tape recorder, dressing professionally, or getting a person’s contact information for any follow-up questions as it was to be able to write well. This is a useful thing for every college student to learn, in my opinion. Theoretical knowledge is not very valuable unless you learn how to apply it practically.
Internships also give students an opportunity to learn more about themselves and what they expect/enjoy in the workplace. I confirmed that I do enjoy working in an environment where I can constantly research and learn new things. I learned that I like to have a certain amount of freedom in the workplace, but unfortunately I also learned that this freedom can make it difficult to motivate myself. I worked on developing strategies for keeping myself focused while working independently, because I think I would enjoy someday working in a job where I have a certain level of self-autonomy.
I enjoyed the internship overall, so I would definitely consider another internship or job in journalism in the future. Although I have still not completely made up my mind about my future career path, I had expected to feel that way at the end of the internship. I know many smart, driven people in their late 20s who have not completely figured out their “career,” and I have read that the average American changes careers seven times in their life. I would be very surprised if I had a fully worked out career path by the end of college, especially since I don’t exactly have a Type A sort of personality. Still, I feel that I have gained experience in a field that I could see myself applying for a job in at some point. My editor contacted me recently to say that he would be happy to write a recommendation for me in the future, which is endlessly valuable, and I will have published clips to include in applications. I have also learned some things about what I am looking for in the professional world, and I think that will aid me in my future job search.
Thanks to anyone who read this blog, and thanks again to the Career Center for supporting me through my first internship!