About year ago I decided to apply for an internship at Study Breaks and even though I had little experience in professional writing, I decided to give it a shot. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into and I was still unsure if I wanted to commit myself to an internship my freshman year of college.
Turns out, writing 1,000-word articles, pitching weekly ideas and conducting student interviews was the best decision I have made thus far. I might have had to overcome the many late nights of writer’s block and inevitable procrastination but I have reached the end of my journey as a Study Breaks writer.
Since it’s my last article, I decided it would only be right to reflect on my progress since I began the internship and share just a few of the things that I’ll take away from my experience and how I can apply these new skills to future endeavors in the future.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
It was pretty clear from the first week I was a perfectionist — this became one of my greatest weaknesses throughout the internship being that I strived to make every piece as error-free as possible. Quickly, I realized that I would have to learn that making mistakes was normal and a part of the growing process.
As I read my weekly pieces repeatedly, I frequently missed correcting basic errors such as comma placement because I was so focused on the content of my article. Although my content focused organization benefitted me at most times, I eventually learned how to balance both content and grammar while still displaying that I was capable of writing at a high level.
It was rewarding to see each individual feedback session, and weekly conferences showed my growth. After only a few weeks in the internship, the highly desirable idea of perfection that I began the internship with faded as I accepted that improvement takes time and is never an overnight process.
My Major Suits Me
From the beginning of the internship, I was informed I would have to conduct an interview with a student every five weeks. This worried me as finding a student outside my home state became challenging at times and students aren’t always the most considerate about each other’s schedules. Not to mention this would be my first real interview.
Receiving the notification that my article went online only made me want to do more and improve the content of my interviews. Being granted the opportunity to have conversations with students I would have never talked to reassured me that my split decision to apply for the internship was the right choice.
I am an aspiring broadcast journalist; I love deadlines and, most importantly, asking questions. These mandatory student interviews allowed me to channel my love for writing and feel the pressures of a deadline as students (annoyingly) arranged last-minute interviews. Whether or not I may have realized it at the time, these interviews were just a sneak peek at my future career.
How to Push Myself Outside of My Comfort Zone
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been an adventurous and daring person, so having to break a comfort zone I was unaware of was a turning point for me. Each week I was expected to pitch three ideas for my next article that was relevant to college students — this small task seemed simple enough. However, with so many topics to write about, I found myself lost at times to narrow it down to just three or even come up with one.
I have always been pretty knowledgeable about current events but never honed in on a specific area of topics. It would have been easy to stick to student life subjects for each article but I wanted to gain something from my weekly assignments and become a strong writer despite the subject matter.
Throughout my internship, I found myself covering everything from music, politics and sports — all of which contributed to finding my niche. As each week passed, I was determined to cover a topic different from the previous until I felt comfortable with every area.
Pushing myself to write about an array of subjects not only built a strong portfolio but better prepared me for any other internships I might want to apply for later on.
Working remotely has its perks: I’m writing this from the comfort of my own bed but it can also lead to unintentional procrastination. For some unknown reason, I decided it would be a good idea to take 18 hours this semester and work part-time, which forced me to begin prioritizing what I needed to get done.
Study Breaks includes in the application process for the internship that it requires at least 20 hours of your time each week. This couldn’t be truer as planning, writing, editing and conference calls alone will keep you busy without the workload from other classes. Nonetheless, it was manageable as I learned to split my work up into specific days to ensure I completed all my responsibilities.
Time management might be one of those things that school tries to teach you early on but the truth is, anything you might have learned goes out the window when you get to college. Thankfully, I always met my deadlines and never had any problems with balancing it all, but the internship reinforced the importance of avoiding procrastination.
As I sit here and reflect back on the past few months, I could not be more grateful for my rash decision to apply as a writer for Study Breaks. These might only be a few of the lessons I’ll walk away with but it showed me that I am perfectly capable of accomplishing my goals. If you’re on the fence about applying for any position, I highly recommend it. You might just learn more about yourself other than how to grow as a writer.