All Polls

Is your employment impacted due to COVID-19?

5 things I learned from doing a local, unpaid summer internship

Published: 02/01/2023

Over the summer, I was an editorial intern for Cleveland Magazine based in Cleveland, Ohio. The opportunity was worthwhile as it was only a 30-minute drive from my hometown, and I went in pretty blind as a first-time intern. I was scared and unsure of myself the first day I walked into the publication's office near Cleveland's Playhouse Square, unsure of what to expect.

As an unpaid 19-year-old, this experience definitely taught me a lot about myself and what I want for my future, so if you're looking for an inside scoop from the local level, here are five things I learned from doing a local, unpaid summer internship:

Always advocate for yourself and your ideas
As an intern, there were moments when I had to fight for the content I wanted to write about, especially as someone who focuses heavily on entertainment and music journalism. At first, I was scared to vocalize my passions to the staff around me, but luckily after the first few weeks of being an intern, I was able to open up to many of my coworkers about my aspirations. And guess what? They listened to me. From then on, I began writing stories I actually enjoyed doing the work for, so don't be afraid to advocate for what you want during your internship. Just because you're not being paid doesn't mean you have to settle for an idea assigned to you.

Hold those higher up accountable
Before I got my internship, I was required to do a phone call with the magazine's editor-in-chief at the time. During our conversation, they told me I would not be paid but that my gas and mileage would be reimbursed. Yet, this never happened, even after finishing the internship in August. Being the soft-spoken person I am, I never addressed this issue, but I wish I did. So, when you're promised something by someone higher up in an organization, hold them accountable. This prevents you from being walked all over and allows you to receive some of the perks depending on your internship.

Don't close yourself off
For me, it was really important to get to know the staff of Cleveland Magazine, even if they were all older and way more experienced than me. Luckily, everyone I worked with was extremely nice, always asking if I needed anything or wanted coffee from the Starbucks downstairs. By getting to know them and putting myself in a position to talk to them, I was able to gain really good advice, as well as earn some future references. In particular, one staff member I became friends with was also a music journalist, and she is someone I will always remember for her guidance and positive attitude. Basically, don't close yourself off whether you're working in a newsroom or office because chances are people are going to want to talk to you.

Be willing to learn
An internship is simply a learning experience, so go into it willing to learn and make mistakes. I learned a lot about properly fact-checking stories, making phone calls and reaching out to sources who weren't the easiest to reach, which helped me become more resourceful. It's also valid to reach out to your advisor or staff around you, especially if you need help or support. Usually, these people will take time out of their day to lead you in the right direction, and you'll always learn something from what they have to tell or show you.

Remember that internships aren't permanent
Sometimes, an internship can seem like a tasking or boring thing to commit to, but these temporary experiences are necessary for growth. There were times when I had nothing to do but brainstorm my next activity. Still, I trained myself to realize that I was given an opportunity to work in a newsroom as a rising college sophomore, which is a pretty big deal. Even if it isn't everything you'd hoped, view your internship as an experience that will benefit you in the long run and a great look on your resume for your future endeavors.

Read More :  Thepostathens


Latest Articles

View All News