Sophomore Year: My First Internship/Job + Research

Long time, no post!

It feels like forever since I last wrote on my blog, but I’m incredibly thankful I have readers – like you! –who still come back for more. And if you’re new here, welcome to my blog! (Like a YouTuber, right now would be the time I’d tell you that I have a consistent posting schedule, but I would just be lying to you.)

I thought it would be nice if I could update you on what I’ve been up to. Throughout the past eight months, I’ve gone through many twists and turns that have made me stronger, more diligent, more mature, and most importantly, more compassionate. I’ll definitely write more about these life experiences in more detail in the future, but for now, let’s keep it simple.

Here’s what’s been going on.

I turned my first internship into a job. This, by far, has been the most monumental change of my life. If you aren’t familiar with my journey in college, I have known since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a news reporter. I came to Cal Poly as a journalism major, and during my first year of college, voraciously applied to at least 20 internships (I know, call me crazy).

Unsurprisingly, I received rejection upon rejection. I mean, come on, who was going to hire an inexperienced freshman with just one completed quarter of college under her belt? But as soon as I received a rejection email from my dream internship – interning over the summer in Washington, D.C., for a non-partisan news organization that reports on campaign finance, super PAC spending, etc. – I lost all hope for myself. I thought that was the final straw and I wouldn’t be able to find an internship anywhere. (Of course, I was extraordinarily ambitious and didn’t want to admit to myself that I still had three years of undergrad left to complete.)

With a combination of luck and persistence, I was able to secure a summer internship with KSBY News, the NBC/CW+-affiliated TV station serving the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. During my internship, I shadowed producers in the newsroom, assisted reporters out on the field, observed how reporters film and edit their packages, attended daily editorial meetings, and many more duties that filled me with a euphoria I had never experienced before.

I was constantly in awe while inside the newsroom. The fast pace of the industry intimidated, yet enthralled me. Observing all the responsibilities in a newsroom and absorbing everyone’s knowledge like a sponge taught me more than any course I had taken at Cal Poly up to that point. My favorite part was watching a newscast come to life after seven to eight hours of pitching stories, interviewing sources, shooting video and sound, and stacking the show. It was a team environment enveloped in organized chaos, and it exhilarated me.

After interning at the station for just three weeks, I was offered a part-time job as a content producer. Essentially I would be planning and producing the weekend shows during the school year on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, while posting content on the KSBY website and scheduling posts on social media. While a part of me initially hesitated to accept the job offer because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career in news production (not the same as news reporting), I knew this was an extremely rare opportunity I could not pass up on. I remember telling myself I would instantly regret it if I turned down the offer. After about one week of contemplating and discussing the matter with my family and friends, I happily accepted the offer.

I have been with the station for seven months now. It has been a fun adventure that has taught me so much about discipline, time management, communication, thinking quickly on my feet, and working well within a team. From scrapping an entire block of content due to a wildfire to covering the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, I’ve seen the ugly parts of broadcast news as well as the pretty parts. I’ve spoken on the phone with local officials to get more information about homicides, as well as with people who’ve called the newsroom to simply thank us for our work. No two days in news are the same, and in the wise words of one of my favorite Los Angeles Times reporters, “news never sleeps.” There are always new stories coming in, and it’s almost electrifying to filter what news gets in the show and what doesn’t. I’m reading, watching, and writing history as it happens, and it’s the best feeling ever.

I’m currently a sophomore at Cal Poly. In my last college-related update, I had just completed my first year of college. I’m now nearing the end of winter quarter of my second year, and it’s been so surreal how fast time has flown.

Last quarter, I simultaneously took media law and journalism ethics courses, which paradoxically gave me some clarity while making my academic and career goals a little more complicated. It provided a sense of clarity as it reassured me I wanted to stay in the journalism industry, but it also confused me because it made me realize that I love learning about law, applying the law, and seeing it play out in real life situations. Yes, I’m pursuing a minor in law & society, but those two courses compelled me to consider going to law school or even pursuing academia.

Fortunately, an excellent opportunity crossed my path last quarter, screaming in my face to chase it down. So I did.

I was selected as a BEACoN Research Mentee. In the words of its website, the BEACoN Research Program is funded by the Office of University Diversity & Inclusivity to mentor diverse students across the Cal Poly campus. Its mission is “to educate and empower underrepresented students and advocate for them as they aspire to successfully complete their Cal Poly education.” As luck would have it, I found out that the only faculty member from the Journalism Department with a BEACoN research project this quarter was the same professor I took for my media law and journalism ethics courses, so it was only fitting that I apply.

After several weeks of anxiously checking my email to see if I was selected, I eventually received the good news from my professor. Throughout winter and spring quarters, we’re working to research the legislative history of the Espionage Act of 1917, the political and cultural context that morphed the inception and implementation of the act, and court cases that address the application of the act. Ideally, my professor and I would write a paper that could be ultimately submitted for peer review, presented to researchers, faculty members, students, and media professionals at academic conferences, and published. It’s not only a way for me to explore my curiosity within the realm of academia, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to connect with a faculty member in a mentor/mentee structure whilst obtaining some financial aid (it’s paid research!).

It’s been an eventful eight months, and I can’t wait to share the rest of my college journey with you. I know I’ve put blogging on the back burner recently, and I’m really grateful that I still have this platform through which I can share my life openly and honestly. So truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sticking around.

My goal for now is to write at least one blog post every week. It’s certainly going to be a challenge as a working college student, but writing is cathartic for me and I want to continue to utilize my voice to help or inspire others as I traverse through school, my job, my mental health, and my relationships. When I’m not writing on my blog, you can always read some of my stories through KSBY (I work on the weekends, so check for my bylines on Saturdays and Sundays!). I’m also constantly checking my emails, so feel free to shoot me a message through this link if you have any requests for future blog topics.

Until then, take care.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.