At the start of college, “writing” was the full extent of my career direction (to the disapproval of advisors and concern of my parents). Once I was hooked on the student newspaper, that narrowed to journalism. So began the adventure of pursuing a journalism career while attending a school without a journalism program—something that would teach me a key lesson in faking it ’til you make it.
Luck was on my side the summer after freshman year. Armed with just my one year of writing for the school paper, I set out to find a media internship in New York City. Convinced I could make my best impression in-person, I booked a flight there for spring break.
Thanks to borderline email harassment, I tracked down people willing to meet with me—and convinced them that my work ethic made up for my lack of a journalism background. I secured a part-time internship at Spoon University, and at SCENE, the arts and pop culture magazine formerly associated with the New York Observer. (About two weeks in, my supervisor at SCENE informed me that the magazine was folding. Thanks to her kind words, I snagged a spot as a news intern at the Observer, just down the hall—despite what would remain to be my vast under-qualification).
I owe the rest of my media-intern experience to that summer, which was followed by internships at St. Louis Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine through the ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors) program.
At school, I studied political science, a major I chose rather blindly, thinking merely that I’d enjoy it and that it would allow for ample writing. (Both proved true.) Combining my interests in journalism and politics, I completed a senior thesis, investigating rhetorical evidence of partisanship in coverage of socio-political issues. If your interest is piqued, read my abstract.
And for more on present-day me, go to Now & Beyond.