Editorial Internship: How Did I Get It, What Do I Do, Tips for Success

Today is the last day in the first week of my editorial internship.

1. How did I get it?

In first semester of university,  I was enrolled in a management degree. Despite learning a lot of very valuable information and getting feedback and training in extroversion, there was something else calling to me.

Bachelor of Arts. Great. I had heard so many things about how useless it is and how there’s no jobs at all to be had. Might as well have stayed in Fine Arts when I was nineteen at Durham College. That career anxiety almost kept me from discovering The Thing I Wanna Do.

So after a semester in Liberal Studies (go big or go home as far as impracticality goes, eh?) I started feeling anxious about summer. During exams, I took an evening and pampered myself,  got a pizza,  and scoured the Internet for summer job postings.

Three hours and many resumes sent in later, I realized I was on page 25 of search results on Kijiji. What good ever came from page 25 of Kijiji? Well that is where I found the job posting for an internship at a print magazine in Toronto; a small group but established and official. I got the position.

It is unpaid. That was almost a deal breaker for me, since I am poor. But, I was able to set it up so that this opportunity would count as three upper level credits towards my English minor. Also, my mother works close to the office,  and she offered to drive me and pick me up. I swallowed my pride and accepted,  and now I’m here. I spend two dollars a day on coffee.

2. What is it that I do?

Day one was all about writing little pieces and blurbs for the front few pages of two publications. It felt weird but I did the best I could, tried to learn the formatting they preferred with as few questions as I could manage. I was glad to have my own desk with a window and a huge screen… It feels pretty great to sit down and work on a computer all day. I am well suited to that kind of work.

Day two I met the editor in chief, who I noticed brought a huge amount of energy to the office. A benefit of my mother driving me is that I always arrive a bit early,  and so had the chance to introduce myself before she became completely busy. She gave me four real assignments to edit that day, and I was over the moon. Also stuffed a ton of magazines with flyers, but overall not too much grunt work. I’m pretty much at the keyboard all day and I love it.

Day three was something special. Another intern started on Monday as well but he quit the next day. He was supposed to be working with the not for profit which is the Editors other business… Its crazy to see how much this woman does… Anyways, there are a lot of shows on this week in various locations, and they needed me to help man the booth with my supervisor.

I didnt know what to expect but, despite my introversion, I enjoy acting and public speaking so I felt ready to handle whatever came at me. If I hadn’t had experience formulating my thoughts and communicating clearly (I.e had I not had seminars in liberal studies and leadership class in tourism) I would have been rather daunted.

Those experiences also helped me when my supervisor had to drive back to the office to pick something up, and I was left alone to interface with the readerbase. Oh boy. This was day three and I was briefed on the drive over all the info I was supposed to be “the expert at the booth ” with. Once the day got going though, I felt fine and dandy and can say with confidence that I did a good job.

So today and yesterday I’ve been busy with actual editorial work, and despite some setbacks I completed the “big” assignments for the editor in chief. Priorities!!  I received some good feedback on my small potatoes work and am hoping they all consider me at least relatively competent. We’ll see about that once I get the Editor in chief’s feedback.

3. Tips for success

Be more awesome.
You know that phrase “nobody’s perfect”? Take it to heart and push the limits on what you believe you are capable of doing. Don’t wait for someone to tell you; be self aware and self critical and then do something different.

Stay humble.
You aren’t giving your work or your self the credit you deserve if you give yourself too much credit. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming you can handle everything and anything just because you’ve always been able to do so up until this point. You are awesome to be sure, but people love an underdog. Try to retain underdog status as long as possible. Staying humble is key.

Leave the hivemind bee-hind.
The Internet is a safe warm familiar nest of vitriolic idiots who exist in some cases only to tear you down. Don’t listen to the pessimistic brainwashed opinions of people you don’t even know. The only voices that should influence important things like, oh, the entire course of your life, are people who have earned your respect. What that means is entirely up to you to figure out; for some it’stheir parents, for others it’s underground rap and hip hop artists. Don’t judge people based on who they respect, because why waste energy on that?

Be cool, man.
This one is difficult. I’ll try my best to express what I mean by this.

Be cool to your fellow humans.
This means get out of their way if you can, and apologize sincerely if you can’t. If someone’s reputation, or livelihood, rests in any proportion on you, then spend as much energy as you can spare to make that work excellent. That will encourage them to do the same for you, or pass along a good word about you to others who might open doors for you.

Be cool as in don’t be not cool.
Don’t hover behind people while they work or outside the door while they’re on the phone. Don’t leave messes for others to clean up. You get the idea; if you’re in any way needing advice about this then I strongly suggest you Google tips on how to be self aware. It’s beyond the scope of this article to teach you how to be a decent individual.

Be cool as in be chill
Oh no, something unexpected! Oh bother! Oh drat! Shut up. Deal with it. You can express concern with your words and actions, without wearing your unsure feelings on your sleeve. This one is really hard to balance, especially for people who value sincerity. Let me digress a moment to talk about it in more detail.

I have two extremes: caring too much and not caring at all. When I was a wee lass, I cared too much about things that didnt deserve that much thought, and it paralyzed me from doing anything. I couldn’t ask a clerk if they had whatever product I was looking for in their store. I couldn’t answer the phone. What if I messed up? What if they aren’t the right person to ask? What if… Etc.

Then I went through the opposite problem. I think I broke under the weight of the pressure I was putting on myself. So, my room and house became a disaster, I dropped out of high school, I didn’t go to work, I just played Final Fantasy XI Online all day, every day, for years. Because it didn’t matter to me whether it ruined my life, and that kind of apathy was destructive and difficult to overcome.

Then came the clean-up, when I finally reached the point where I cared that I was at square negative-ten. But, I wont get into that. It felt like I cared and didn’t-care equally, simultaneously, at all times. What the effbomb. I still feel that way, but brick by brick I lay down the road I walk on, away from that disaster I had made.

All that I do is to get as far away from that point as possible. Sometimes I look up and think, holy crap, I’m in a foreign country. Im from the land of failure but I speak the language of success, and I’m trying to become fluent.

So, what I’m saying is, if you care too much or too little or both, try to flip the switch when it’s to your benefit. Care too much: about the other person’s project. Care too little: about things you can’t control.

If existence is meaningless, why should I worry about whether I get on the right bus? If it’s the wrong one, ill get off. If its the right one, hurray. If existence has meaning, but believing that it’s meaningless while stressed out helps me get through the anxiety, then why not believe that it’s meaningless in those moments? I can always appreciate meaning while I’m with friends and family. We create our own reality with our actions not our thoughts. If your thoughts or feelings hinder your actions, then you have a problem, but it comes with a solution. That’s how I interpret the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyways”.

Be cool, be balanced, it’s like holding a cup of coffee in a car; you tip it this way and that to keep it from spilling. Standing still, it would seem like madness to tip the cup around all over the place, but while in motion it makes sense.Try explaining that to someone who has never held a cup of coffee in a car, and is convinced that tipping the cup will cause everything to spill. All you can say is: trust me, I know, you’ll be okay. Or, go learn some physics, noob.

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~ by A. L. Park on May 17, 2014.

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