Sara Solano is a senior journalism and theater student at the University of Florida.
By Sara Solano
With the job market in such shambles at the moment, it’s truly a wonder undergraduates can find internships.
Throughout my year-long hunt for the ideal summer internship, I realized that competing for temporary positions that are open to grad students and college graduates, who are just as willing to work and learn for little to no pay as I am, is a very discouraging endeavor.
My lofty goals included working as an editorial intern in New York City for Time or The Onion, or at a student media law website in Arlington, Va. When I received my bounty of We-Regret-To-Inform-You e-mails weeks later, I chalked it up to the recession, pouted for a bit (didn’t they know I could craft a lede with the tender finesse of Keats?) and then slapped myself on the wrist for getting eight hours of sleep when I could have been padding my résumé with a late-night copy editing position with the local paper.
I don’t think I need to draw a Goofus and Gallant comic to illustrate that this really isn’t a stellar attitude.
I really had no choice but to get over it. I got up, dusted myself off and got back on the horse (uh, computer). I applied to more internships and then…applied to more internships. I took a break for class and then applied to more internships. I went and bought a tall mocha latte and a muffin, followed by applying to more internships. I watched Monday Night RAW and then applied for a communications internship with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). I think what I’m trying to say is that I applied for a lot of internships.
The internship I wound up being offered that I enthusiastically accepted? Not within my major.
I’m currently an assignment desk intern for NBC 6 Miami/Telemundo 51, although I have no legitimate telecommunications or broadcasting experience. Sure, I have basic universal media know-how from my journalism curriculum, but I spent my first day of work thinking a VO/SOT was some sort of Skynet-commissioned android (it’s not). But by the end of the first day, I was logging in press releases and arrest affidavits like a champ, and I actually understood the process of the information getting from my computer to on-air at 11 p.m.
The moral? Refuse to limit your options. When I found that a strictly writing or social media internship wasn’t in the stars, I opted to branch out of my comfort zone and applied to every cable and network news outlet I could think of. I even submitted apps for positions ranging from PR to publishing. Sure, I may have missed out on being exposed to the basics of these fields in class, but the experience I’d gain on the job would be priceless. Moreover, having skills outside those you’re taught in a class makes you infinitely more marketable. As great as it is to apply what you’ve already learned, self-teaching shows motivation, focus and an ambitious attitude that any future employer would adore.
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