I’m currently in the middle of helping the daughter of my aunt’s friend (did you get all that?) find an internship in Journalism.
The young and hopeful girl is in her final year of university and as I was going through my contacts for her, it hit me – wow, I went through this too, almost eight years ago. Wait – EIGHT YEARS AGO?
What the f—, people laugh and joke about how time flies, (Stef and I usually lament), and I guess that’s part of why we started the Ms.Adventures in the first place.
We went through J-School (baptism by fire) together, we applied together and individually to every paper, magazine, and radio station from here to Korea. We were driven, we were young and yeah, I’ll say it – we were (still are) talented.
I think about the way I busted my bum (for free) at my first internship, it was good, it was hard, and the hours? Yeah, they were shit. My second internship at a national newspaper literally changed my life. I didn’t know I would be capable of half of what I did.
I know that I’m not the smartest, wittiest writer, my grammar is average, but one thing I knew I could do was work hard — and I did. I worked my butt off at this newspaper. Not only did it land me a full-time, permanent position in a major city with a major paper (something our Journalism teachers told us we would not be able to do), it earned me “the best intern” title in the newsroom. It’s no NNA (National Newspaper Award), but to me, having the city editor acknowledge me like that at 20 years old fresh out of J-School? He might as well have handed me a Pulitzer.
There’s a lot of talk now about unpaid internships in Ontario, targeting magazine internships in particular. While I think it’s great the province wants these interns paid, it’s sad because companies will just cut them, off-loading the work on some poor junior soul in the office.
I think about this girl I’m trying to help, I’ll be honest, at first I thought, ‘why should I help her? No one helped me, I knew no one in this industry that was connected’. But the angel on my right shoulder quashed all of this because an assistant teacher did send me the posting that landed me my first, real — and paid Reporter gig.
I guess I’ve never really taken the time to reflect on my career path, mostly, because I spend more time thinking about money I’m not earning; why didn’t I choose a more lucrative career path? Why do I like writing? etc. etc. But hey, here I am, these are the skills I’ve been given, and stories –written or read — are my passion.
Sure, I’m not pulling in what I could be if I was in business or health, or whatever, but I set out what I meant to do from the beginning. I didn’t peak in high school. I wasn’t one of those people who bragged about their grades, or what I was going to do in university only to end up in teacher’s college (no offence, this is a legit and super important career) or something like that. I wanted to be a reporter (wanna hear a joke? The difference between a journalist and a reporter? A reporter is a journalist with a job). I did that, through the grace of God. My other career goal was to make editor before 30 — check.
So yeah, the road has not been easy, it hasn’t built my bank, but it has been worth it.