I’m writing this post on Monday, my first day of work at my summer internship. So perhaps my opinion will change as time progresses, but for the time being, I’ll reflect upon my first day and my impressions of what the next weeks might entail.
This is my first in a real, professional print news room. Obviously I’ve worked with the college newspaper, but it’s a tad different. So far I’ve been on the reporting end of things, taking on assignment and being the typical eager intern. But I still see a big difference from my past work experience.
I’ve mentioned this time and time again, but I’m not an office person. I don’t sit still ever. Even now I am bobbing my leg. My attention span, as often as people tote that they are “so ADD” without a clinical diagnosis, is really not that great. It comes in waves. I honestly don’t know how anybody is expected to be have robotic efficiency from for a full eight-hour shift.
On top of all of that, I get bored very easily. I’m someone who will come in early to work to finish a project I was working on the previous day and then sit around waiting for people to give me more assignments. I have a strong work ethic that craves an assignment to hold me over, otherwise the attention span will inevitably wane.
But with my first days here at the state’s largest newspaper, I am very glad about how things have started out. Last summer, I didn’t leave my building at all during the day. I was stuck in a felted cubicle desk, feeling like a caged animal, simply trying to call people and work on assignments regarding weather and agriculture that I simply had no interest in. And when they didn’t really have much to give me each day, I was just fine with that setup when I was also actively taking classes on campus, but full-time? That just drove me down, feeling exhausted and yet disgusted with how little I thought I completed.
This new internship is a much different experience. First off, no cubicles. My desk is right next to a big window overlooking the bustling downtown street below. The people here are very nice and have a great energy to them that I jive with well. Rather than confused by my needs to come in to work early and be done earlier in the day, they are very understanding of how I function. Heck, on my very first day, I got to run out to report on a story, photos and video and all. I love feeling like I’m on the move, that I’m not chained to my desk, disconnected from everything.
I never used to be one to want to speak up and voice my needs in fear of conflicting with others, but now I just feel empowered to do so. Why should I feel ashamed for working and thinking differently than others? I should not feel guilty for knowing what I want from a full-time position; it will only benefit myself and everyone else involved. It’s an interconnected system.
I still really want to work freelance, from home, on my own schedule. I’m really glad I am able to run the gamut of options and experiences out there, but I know where I ultimately want to end up. Again, when people ask me about my future plans, I’m hesitant about saying that desire because in a gung-ho, be-productive-as-possible-to-be-successful world, it’s ingrained in us to follow the path of climbing corporate ladders and fulfill those cliche life plans for the next however-many years.
Understandably, if it takes some time to make it to that end-goal, that’s okay. But if you don’t feel comfortable following that “all-American dream,” then don’t. Spend your life doing what you love. Search for those opportunities you envision for yourself. It’s your life, not anybody else’s. Settling for something just to make an income shouldn’t be the Plan-A option.
Obviously I feel very strong about this, about this notion that if you’re not making x-number of dollars each year, you’re not living up to some assumed potential. That you’re letting yourself and your loved ones down by following your gut. If you aren’t happy, you aren’t helping anybody. Life is too short and precious to just do what others tell you for every single decision, what people expect out of you.
There are so many options and paths in this big ol’ world, it’s insane. And if your dream career isn’t out there right now, create it. Make it happen for yourself. That in of itself takes ambition, motivation, guts. That’s the type of productivity we should be encouraging. Not just the monotonous duties, but the creativity and drive to turn a dream into a feasible plan.
And this motivation, something I’ve always had in the back of my mind but is reawakened by new professional experiences, is what guides me to my next chapter in life. Being a senior, leaving the comfort (and stress) of the education system behind to step out, diploma in hand, is terrifying. You wonder why I want to take a gap year to travel and volunteer? Going cold-turkey on what has been my “career” for fifteen years to somehow seamlessly transition into a 9-5 office job? No thanks.
But I digress. Simply put, I am really enjoying my new job. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and really hope to make the most out of it. Who knows where things will go from here?
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie