Just do it!

Nicole DeJesus

I know beer pong is the most exciting pastime ever invented, but maybe this break, you could do something that will change the way you spend the next thirty years of your life.

Although these three sacred months seem like a much-needed time off for most of us, some of us realize the importance an internship can bring to our future. Besides, how are you supposed to know what career or major really fits you without trying it out first?

So you’re a Business major, and you take a job at a company that makes you start out in sales and you realize, “Wait a minute, I suck at this!” If you had interned one summer, maybe you would have learned this early on.

Or what if you’re a Comm major. Your first job out of school is at a PR firm. Yeah, you took all the classes and read all the books, but working in an office everyday faxing press releases might not be the gig for you. Maybe, if you took an internship at a PR firm the previous summer, you would have found that you actually like the advertising department better and focused more on Marketing.

There’s no better way to discover your niche than being thrown into a real office with people who have chosen that field.

Working as an intern this semester at The Star-News in Chula Vista, I built great references and added many clips (articles) to my file. More importantly, I got a chance to see what I’m good at, not so good at and what areas I will never take a job in. Honestly, it was a lot of work and I had to drop one of my four classes because it was stressing me out. But, given the chance, I would definitely do it all over again.

Besides the obvious reasons to take an internship, people (like chief editors or GM’s) take you more seriously. I recently attended the JACC (Journalism Association of Community Colleges) conference in LA. After listening to masters of their craft speak in seminars and workshops, I spoke with them about summer internships. And I wasn’t the only one trying to nab a connection from these guys. There was a line of people waiting to speak with Evan Slater, Editor in Chief of SURFING magazine. Instead of bombarding him on the spot, I introduced myself and got his contact information. After writing a brief letter about why he would benefit from choosing me out of the many applicants, I believe I got the job because of my previous experience as an intern and my attendance at the conference.

I’ve been working there for three weeks now and I frickin’ love it. The best part about a non-paid job is you can suck and it’s OK. It’s all about learning and gaining experience. I discovered that magazines are much more my style than newspapers and surfers are more fun to work around than grumpy reporters. But I don’t regret the newspaper internship. My editor at The Star, Carlos Davalos, taught me the true politics involved in news writing and my two semesters on staff at The Mesa Press showed me that I would most likely kill myself with the deadlines involved with a daily newspaper.

My point here is this, how else would I have known that a magazine was the place for me without giving them both a shot first? And if you get lucky you’ll snatch a job that is more fun than work. So get on the web. Research internships in your major. Apply for ALL of them. And hope somebody bites. Oh, and you can register for Mesa’s Work Experience class and get up to four units for it! Pretty sweet huh?

Also, if you are interested in working for a publication check out the California Newspaper Association’s website for internship opportunities at www.cnpa.com. And if you have a favorite magazine, turn to the Mast Head inside and write the editor an email… You’d be surprised how easy it is to get what you want when you have a passion and work hard to get good at it. Good Luck!!