I am wrapping up my editorial internship in Rhode Island for the summer, and after surviving some lows and celebrating some highs, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect. These are some of the life realizations that everyone with an internship can relate to concluding at the end of their own experience.
You’re not going to love every part of your job.
And that’s okay. You’re going to have to do things you don’t enjoy, or maybe even things that scare you. My least favorite part of my internship? Answering phones. But the important thing is that was only 5% of the job, and the rest was what I enjoyed. The trade-off is worth it.
But you’re going to love the littlest things.
I knew going into the internship that I loved the basics of what I was doing: writing and editing. Little did I know I’d discover other little silly things I liked to do, like uploading content to the web, bonding with my office mates and meeting enthusiastic subjects. Life really is about the little things, and so should your job!
Everyone makes mistakes. Big and small.
I remember the first big mistake I made as an editorial intern – every journalist’s nightmare. I had published an incorrect name in a story and got reamed for it; the woman called me on my cell to curse over the phone for twenty minutes. Some tears were shed, my embarrassment showed on my face but my boss told me not to sweat it since it was a hazard of the job. The biggest lesson? Sh*t happens, but you gotta move on. Live ‘n learn.
You’re going to start to embrace your talents.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been reluctant to accept that I might actually be good at something. Yes, I knew I was obviously somewhat good to have gotten my internship, but was I really the kind of good worth talking about? After getting assigned story after story and a sit-down with my supervisor about my knack for tone and imagery, I finally started to let that thought settle into my brain: I am a writer – and a good one.
You’re going to learn and do more than you thought you would.
I thought the internship would be a repetitive practice of skills I already had, a hamster wheel of fact-checking and editing that would boost my resume with only a minor real-life effect. Oh, I was wrong. From my writing assignments I grew more concise, deadline-oriented and aware of good and bad in a magazine story. Who knew I’d ever be able to crank out a 500-word piece in 24 hours? Or get an interviewee to open up about future endeavors? Or tackle a feature in under a week?
Your fellow interns will turn into best friends.
Sharing the same cubicle and insecurities will do that to you. Now I look forward to sitting at a desk all day as long as my friends are, too. We even hang out on the weekends or during lunch breaks. Let’s just say going through editorial trial by fire is a great bonding experience.
You’ll start to realize what you want to do with your life – and what you don’t.
I thought for sure I’d want to work at a small magazine publication, but after actually working for one, I’ve realized I need the hustle, bustle and glamor of a larger mag. That doesn’t mean you wasted your internship – finding out what you don’t like is just as important!