I stared at my empty inbox and sighed as summer quickly approached. After applying for an internship at my local radio station, I received no response and ultimately, my first rejection. Due to my incredibly demanding athletic schedule, having a job or an internship becomes nearly impossible. While most internships look for 10 to 12 weeks of work, I only get a mere six to eight off during the summer.
This has left me worried sick about the future and, of course, overthinking how much experience other people in my field get.
Then the little ‘1’ popped up in my inbox, and I started typing as fast as I could.
I received an email from the journalism department at my school, Wake Forest, saying that College Magazine wanted 10 new student writers and anyone could send in our resume to get a shot. Without missing a beat, I sent in my resume just praying for a chance. I knew that I had very limited experience, especially at that time, and I felt under qualified. But thankfully I got the call back and eventually the position at College Magazine.
Going through this process of applying for this job, getting over the fear of possible rejection and even having my first interview, all prepared me for finding a job in the future. An interview or a call back can happen at any time, and now I can face them with confidence that I never had before. No matter how inexperienced you feel, sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and send that email. You never know what may hit.
Although certain athletic meetings have prepared me in some ways for interview situations, interviewing for a job comes with an entirely new set of nerves.
I saw my dream of writing at the end of the tunnel with only an interview left in my way. I learned that during interviews talking first shows courage but overpowering the conversation can show arrogance. Also, during video interviews, mute your mic because noises can come from anywhere. Having poise and taking a deep breath before answering each question helped me through each stage of the process. Don’t sweat the small mistakes; everyone makes them and overthinking them can ruin the rest of the interview. Without having this interview experience, who knows what my first job interview out of college would have sounded like — and man am I glad that I don’t have to find out.
Not only did going through the process of getting the job help me, but this position at College Magazine has taught me more about the field of Journalism than I have ever known or learned before. Whether it has to do with the different iPhone apps or websites we use or how to keep digging deeper to write a new article every week, I can see this translating seamlessly into any writing or reporting job in the future. Conducting countless interviews, going through many rounds of the editing process and promoting my articles on social media has all around helped me as a journalist. I have let my brain become a sponge for information and have learned how to work as a team in the writing field.
I have gotten — not always willingly but for my own good — shoved out of my comfort zone when it comes to interviews.
My brain has switched from searching for the quote to actually searching for information. I never thought I would randomly walk into a Toyota dealership and sit down with a car salesman to talk about buying a car. But in doing so, I got an entirely new opinion for my piece. Without taking that risk, my article would not have gone to the next level or given my reader what they needed.
Getting the opportunity to build my portfolio, at an alarming rate, gives me much more to include on my resume. Going into this summer, I had just become a staff writer for my school newspaper, with a published portfolio of — wait for it — three. Now, I have the confidence to apply for different positions because I have a much wider range of published articles under my belt.
Wanting to go into investigative journalism after college, this opportunity at College Magazine has helped me learn how to interact with many different editors and writing teams.
Having this experience with a large publication has also taught me how to reach a much larger audience than just my student population. Just the application process itself geared me for the next two years and beyond, and I can’t wait to see where this experience takes me.