This is the long and somewhat overdue story of my internship this semester. It’s a story that has changed a lot over the past week, so I had to omit many details about my original struggle in August to choose between two very lucrative positions. In hindsight, I made the right decision — even though I was taking a big risk. If I hadn’t taken that risk originally, I would not have had the chance to end up where I am.
Early this summer. I applied for two very different internships that would each offer me very different experiences. I won’t name them here, because I turned down both positions. ButWhile one guaranteed me straight-up, hard news reporting experience at the politics/news desk, the other offered me economics/business reporting experience…and the possibility of international connections. Add to the equation this little fact: The latter is owned by a German corporation and has a bureau in Germany, and, you know, I figured it wouldn’t be too rough if I ended up with a job there as a result of my internship.
When I was offered the first position, I made the very difficult decision to turn it down. This was very difficult because, well, it was a great position and who was I to turn it down? No one would say no to that opportunity. I did, because I wanted to follow my heart and pursue the potential of international connections at the second organization, which I believed had a guaranteed spot for me.
Upon arriving in D.C., however, we learned that the internships at the organization I chose were actually still being decided – in a rather fierce, multi-applicant competition for two spots. I felt as if the ground had been yanked out from beneath me; I had been so confident in my internship decision when I arrived in D.C., but everything went up in the air. I won’t lie: I panicked a little. Just a little. I went ahead and scheduled my interview with the editor, knowing I would have to really impress her when we met in person. But on a whim Terry had me send my resume out to one of his other colleagues, a woman who was going to talk to her colleagues (can you see how much of a long shot this was?) about a possible internship slot for me at The Washington Post. I did not get my hopes up.
Terry told me – tried to reassure me – that there were still other options, even if they were not my first choices. At that point, I started kicking myself mentally. How stupid was I to turn down what I had already been offered! Not only did I have no internship just 10 days before I was supposed to start, but I had said no to what was probably my best option in hopes of “chasing-the-dream.” How impractical. How unlike me. That was last Thursday.
On Tuesday, I went to my interview (at the National Press Building…too late for free breakfast, alas!) and felt confident. However, she said she still had two more interviews and would let me know about the position by Thursday (today). Yes, I said, that is doing a number on my nerves, but yes, I completely understand the situation, and no, I will not go binge eat donuts to satiate my anxiety. Oh, wait, I did do that.
When I checked my email Tuesday evening, however, I delighted to read the following words in a message: “I wanted to write with the good news that we’d definitely like to host you for an internship here this fall.” An email from the editor I had just met? That would have been good enough. But this was an email from the editor of a Washington Post blog, On Leadership, welcoming me on board as an intern.
The. Washington. Post.
The. Washington. Post.
I am an intern at The Washington Post, working jointly with two of its blogs, On Leadership and On Innovations. While the Leadership blog focuses mainly on national politics and, well, leadership, the Innovations site looks toward global developments in all fields, which gets me the international focus I was hoping for. As far as internships for college journalists are concerned, this is a huge opportunity.
Naturally, I am excited and terrified and all sorts of other emotions. However, I am also humbled by this chance, because it truly came out of nowhere. Before last Thursday, the Post was not on my radar and I never imagined I could intern there. While I felt like the ground was yanked out from beneath me at the time, I now realize that God was lifting me up, up to a higher place, up to ground where I am unsteady and unsure…but willing to trust that I am supposed to be here.