As I sit here and wait for my parents to come and pick me up, I’m reflecting on my time here (while listening to Maroon 5, of course). I have some inspirational things to say, while I’d also like to point out some things I will and will not miss about our nation’s capital.
Despite some of the struggles I’ve had throughout the semester — roommate issues, coping with being on my own, etc — I don’t regret anything. To be blunt, I really disliked the program I was in because I felt like most of the “programs” and assignments we had to do did not contribute to my learning at all. It was busy work in my eyes and I hate busy work more than anything. However, if it wasn’t for the Washington Center, I never would have gotten to intern at The Daily Caller and that would have been a huge mistake.
I learned more in my three months there than I have in my three years at college. I feel like I don’t know what else I could possibly learn when I return to Westfield State in the fall. I learned incredible skills that I will continue to use throughout my career, I met amazing people that contributed to that learning and that I was able to laugh with and make connections with and that I will never forget. The fact that most of the office pretty much told me to work there when I graduate is a beyond wonderful feeling. I’m such a humble person so when I hear those things I’m not sure how to react, but it’s crazy because I never expected any of this on January 24 when I began my internship. Now it’s May 4 and I’m about to leave D.C. with so many incredible memories and more experience than I ever would have though possible.
Because I’ve written about all the cool things I’ve done at work — i.e. interviewing famous people! — I won’t reiterate, but those experiences I never would have had if I didn’t come here. I don’t know how I mustered up the courage to even come here in the first place, but I did and I’m so happy about it. I’ll forever be able to tell people that I worked for The Daily Caller, a national news website, and was there to help them reach 5.5 million unique users. Even though I didn’t get paid, I know that they appreciated the work that I did for them and it was really sad to have to leave. And even weirder not being there for the last two days.
But on to my real point: I never knew the value of an internship before I did this. I thought it was something people did to have on their resume. That’s why I did it. “It will look so good on my resume that I worked in D.C. for a semester!” Which it will, but now I’m realizing that what I gained from being here is more than a section on a piece of paper.
Like I said, I learned so much and got to do such amazing things here and those things you don’t learn in a classroom. You learn the basics – how to write, speak well, how to conduct interviews, and maybe you’ll have to actually go interview a professor every now and then, but never did I do the things I did here. They don’t teach you in school how to deal with criticism from people that read your articles and don’t like them. They don’t teach you how to deal with criticism from editors and reporters. I had to learn on my own what the readership was like at TheDC and formulate my stories based on that. You learn in school to be an objective reporter. But what is that? I learned that it pretty much doesn’t exist. The Daily Caller is typically for moderate to right-wing readers so I wouldn’t expect there to be a “congratulations Obama” story if he wins the election in 2012. It’s just the way it is. Readers don’t want to see that because that’s not where they fall politically. It IS about making money and it IS NOT about being objective.
I learned by whole journalism career that you have to be unbiased and leave your politics at the door which in most instances is true. I never knew where any of the reporters stood politically. However, they work for The Daily Caller so they do stories that would attract their readers whether or not they personally agree. It’s a crazy world and at first I wasn’t sure I’d fit in, but because of my internship I learned that I did and I will. So that’s my point: Do an internship! Whether it be local, in D.C. or across the world do it. I guarantee you will learn so many things about yourself and the field that you’re interested in. Even if you find out that something isn’t for you, you have no idea how important that is. You train yourself in school to pick something you think is interesting or something that you’re good at. But how do you know if once you get out of school and don’t just sit in a class learning about it, if you’ll even like it? Then what? You do a job that you hate? I’m a strong believer in education, but an even stronger believer in getting up everyday and going to work to do something you absolutely love. So do an internship, figure it out. You will not regret it, I promise you.
I discovered that I may not want to live in D.C. and I may never want to do broadcast reporting, but I also discovered that my heart belongs in journalism. I have a passion for it and I’m good at it. I now know, after my time spent at The Daily Caller, that journalism is where I’m supposed to be and no matter what I have to do to get there, I know I’ll continue with it throughout my career.
Okay, so, that was my little inspirational bit, now for some ups and downs:
I will miss..
- The new friends I’ve made (which all happen to go to the same school so I hope to visit them!)
- The Daily Caller
- Nice weather (unlike New England)
- My apartment (minus my roommate)
I will not miss..
- The metro!!!
- Not having my car
- Being away from my family, friends, and boyfriend
- Walking everywhere
- Overpaying at Harris Teeter
- Being poor
I’m sure there are more likes/dislikes but I can’t think of any at the moment. Anyway, I’m amazed at how quickly this internship and three months went by but I’m so happy to be returning home tomorrow! Write soon