My summer mornings began with a persistent alarm at exactly 5:43 a.m. Before the sun decided to rise from its slumber, I’d sit cross-legged on my bedroom floor trying to conceal the faint lilac bags under my lower lashes. The vanilla biscotti coffee I’d make would usually cool to a not-quite-luke-warm, as I’d forget about it until finishing my last coat of mascara. But that wouldn’t stop me from chugging it cold—I was desperate and still not awake enough to will myself back down the stairs to the microwave.
Once dressed and as ready as I could be for the impending day, I’d put my heels in my hand-me-down Michael Kors bag (thanks Mom)—since I learned my lesson after trying to commute in them the first day of my internship. I'd have my motivational playlist ready for the 45 or 50 or sometimes even 70 minute bus ride (thank you, public transportation) to the city that never sleeps but is brimming with endless dreams.
I really don’t know where to begin. There’s something so reassuring about the duality of independence and responsibility that an internship brings. At Hearst Tower I was an editorial intern for CountryLiving.com and WomansDay.com, and my daily tasks ranged from writing and editing to posting on Pinterest. The lobby of Hearst has a waterfall—I kid you not—and the food in the cafeteria is incredible. And I assure you that the beauty of it all is not even the best part.
When I first started, I’d get home around 7:30 at night (or 8:00 p.m. if there was traffic, as there frequently was) and would want nothing more than to collapse onto my bed—no gym, dinner, or friends for me. There'd be this dull ache in my shoulders that would weave itself down to the curves of my hips, and it wouldn’t subside no matter how much Advil I took or ice packs I applied. I’d only be able to sit semi-comfortably at work if I used a pillow as a backrest at my desk (which wasn't an uncommon sight around the office, may I add). Even coffee was a lost cause because no amount of caffeine could remedy my exhaustion.
My internship made me certain that I belong in the magazine industry, specifically the digital side of lifestyle publications. With its fast paced, always-in-the-know atmosphere, the industry brings together discipline, creativity, analysis, and a necessary eye for detail. The experience taught me how to work efficiently, and I learned that being an editor isn’t just about writing and editing (although that’s the bulk of the job), it’s about communicating with your team and readers. It’s about telling stories not only through articles, but also through what’s posted on social media and other mediums. It's about how the brand is portrayed visually across platforms and how its content evokes emotion.
Most importantly, the work that I did was important. I wasimportant. I found a place where I was as confident as I could be about my future, and that’s not something I originally signed up for when I applied for the position. I knew that the internship would teach me about office culture, editorial skills, and the "real world" (aka the grit and chaos that is commuting). And when I'd hoped something more would come from it, I was lucky enough to find that something—to find my home.
Sure, my work at Hearst was tiring, but it was always worth it because I finally felt like I could see a sure path to a promising career post graduation. As a senior with only two semesters left, I'm incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by such inspiring, dedicated, creative-minded editors this summer. Being a writer is a scary thing, I'll admit. You're constantly in fear that your creativity and passion is never enough. You want your voice to be heard in a sea of noise that won't dwindle on your behalf—so, you have to be persistent. You have to have a fierceness that is hard to come by and is intimidating as hell. But at Hearst I felt secure, and it’s an amazing feeling when you know you belong somewhere. I have my foot in the door, and I intend to get my whole body through in one piece.