The final year of any university degree is one filled with an array of emotions. For me, it was mostly excitement. Excitement that I would no longer have to juggle a job, university, the travel to university (an hour away), an internship, writing for free and the occasional social life.
As part of my university degree, it is a requirement to complete 20 days of a journalistic internship. At the beginning of the term, I was beyond excited to start my internships (I scored two). I had just returned from Europe, feeling refreshed and eager to learn. I was more motivated than ever to learn the necessary skills that were needed to become an excellent journalist.
One of my internships was at an international women’s fashion magazine. Right up my alley, or so I thought. During the interview, the lady had said I would be doing all these wonderful jobs such as going to help out on photo shoots, writing my own articles and learning how a magazine runs. I couldn’t wait. I picked out my outfit the week before my first day, paraded around my house asking every one if they thought I looked professional enough, while also exuding fashionista vibes. Everyone fed my ego and agreed.
Then the crushing reality set in. I hadn’t heard back from the girl who had said I could intern since I had messaged her weeks ago, asking her what day she’d like me to start. So I messaged again. Maybe she hadn’t got my email for some reason and I really didn’t want to lose this internship.Turns out she’d gotten the first email,”Thanks for your email. I did also receive your email on Monday”. Maybe it was just me being overly sensitive, but nothing in that email made me feel warm and fuzzy and excited to go to my internship. Something a little closer to the side of anxious and nervous.
On the first day of my internship I arrived 10 minutes early and asked the security guard to let the lady know I was waiting. She came down 20 minutes later. “Let’s go get coffee. I want to show you where we like it from for when I ask you to get it”.
We made it back to the office and I was given the task of organising the magazines into their correct dates. I’ve done this 3 times now, in the 3 times I’ve been to my internship. Each week when I arrive I am greeted with the same monotonous “hello”, and given a few magazines with post-it notes marking out which articles I am to retype onto a computer from an old magazine that day.
Despite all of this, even after my few weeks of not-so-great experiences, I believe that experiential learning is a great opportunity. What better way to learn about the field that you are studying than to actually ‘work’ in that field before you graduate. I think the universities are trying something really progressive, I just wish that these industries that accept interns to come into their office would treat them with the same respect they would a worker.
Now I’ve heard a few of the fellow students at university talk about how much they are learning at their own internships, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it is just the fashion magazines? Are they trying to uphold their “sassy” reputation, and if so, why? If every other news organisation and other type of magazine can manage to be kind, helpful and teach their interns something, why can’t the fashion world, too?
Outfit: David Lawrence jacket, Forever New pants, General Pants top, Siren shoes, Michael Kors handbag