After 8 months of tucking my shirt in, morning commutes on the T and free K-cups, I’ve finished my internship at The Improper Bostonian. Looking back, it is the third longest job I’ve held – behind my on-campus job at Student Financial and Academic Services and my over 8 years of working for my family’s irrigation company (P.S. that’s my dad – like 20 years ago at least – on the tractor on the home page.) It was a great experience and I will definitely remember it as the place where I really launched my career in writing. Being able to continue working over the summer through the WOW program exponentially increased my skills, since I was able to build off of my existing experience.
I met the learning goals I defined for myself at the start of the semester, for the most part. I pitched and wrote a few different articles throughout the summer (my favorite being one about some local t-shirt designers), but not as many as I originally hoped. Overall, I wrote four different pieces over the summer, which really isn’t that much when you consider most online publications look for writers to contribute at least three different stories per day. My lack of writing was due to a few different factors, such as trouble with scheduling interviews and a lack of ideas worthy to pitch but I am still proud of the work I completed and will use them as samples when applying for jobs later on. The portfolio of work I’ve put together from my time at The Improper is enough to get my ‘foot-in-the-door’ at other publications, especially when pitching and submitting articles as a freelance writer.
The portfolio of work is the most important thing, career-wise, I gained from continuing on at The Improper for the summer. I came to the conclusion that I want to be a free-lancer, at least right after I graduate, and not be tied to a specific publication. I would much rather write and submit that work to be published instead of applying to different editor positions and hoping to get one. The freedom associated with writing strictly for the sake of writing and hoping to get paid for it afterwards is exactly what I’m looking for after graduating. I don’t want to have to show up to an office everyday and have to work through some of the intra-office problems that occur every day; I would like to simply focus on what I’m passionate about and mainly work for myself. Most likely later on in life, I will look for a stable job with a regular paycheck but working piecemeal and trying to broaden myself across different publications is much more exciting right now. That’s really how the career ladder works for writers and editors. Before any publication hires a writer full-time, they want to make sure the candidate can be counted on in the freelance capacity. This is exactly how it worked for one of my supervisors when she was hired for The Improper. She had told me she had done some freelance work for the magazine previously, and when her job position opened up, she was a much stronger candidate since she had already worked for the magazine.
As for other students looking to work in this field, and this definitely applies to working at The Improper as well, I would tell them to not be timid. Don’t be shy about your ideas for articles and other pieces, and just keep thinking. Don’t be complacent with what you’ve done so far; there is always more you can submit or work on – both for actual article submissions and just working as an intern. That is definitely my strongest takeaway from my entire summer intern experience. Simply work hard. Of course there will be times when you have to relax a bit and take your mind off of your work, but any writer or journalist knows that the mental effort that goes into the job never really takes a break. Ideas for stories and articles pop up everywhere, and keeping an efficient working habit, you can make the most of them.