Connections matter. The line has retained relevance my entire life. From the day I entered the workforce at age 17, my mom emphasized just how far a connection can take you in life. Little did I know I would end up at a college where connections are integrated into the fabric of the school’s community. In both the curriculum and Conn’s career office, faculty and staff highlight the value of a connection: academic connections, such as cross-listed classes or concepts; employment connections, such as your mom’s co-worker’s cousin. Connections can be big or small but how you utilize them determines their importance.
I just returned from a semester abroad in Sydney, Australia. My reappearance in the United States came with a laundry list of adjustments and changes—the most intense of which was transitioning once again from a student to worker. I had two whole months to advance my career and I wanted to make sure it was not in vain. My mom helped me leverage her connections on LinkedIn, and I sent some emails, but ultimately I kept drawing blanks. An internship search is not cut and dried. It takes hard work, dedication, and lots and lots of follow-up emails. Finally, it seemed that we struck gold. My mom’s coworker has a cousin who works in a local news station based out of Rye, New York. I initially searched for strictly film and television production internships but I knew that it was in my best interest to branch out.
I reached out to my mom’s contact as soon as I could. She informed me that the news station, RNN News Network, was hiring interns for the winter. One thing led to another and I secured an internship that would begin in a matter of weeks. After weeks and weeks of searching, all it took was one meaningful connection to land me a position. I ended up as a news intern and while I lacked experience in the field, I was excited at the opportunity to expand my horizons and begin my first internship. Maybe I could learn a thing or two about film production along the way.
My first day was a cold one during the week before Christmas. I dressed in what I felt to be “business casual” and approached the opportunity with open arms and an eager mind. The first day was a truncated orientation. I got to the meat of my internship right away on day two as I was thrown right into the chaos and disarray of a newsroom. Computer monitors lined the edges of the room—some had up to three additional screens—as producers, assignment editors and managers furiously typed away and placed pertinent phone calls. The most jarring thing about my first encounter with the newsroom was the abundance of deadlines throughout the day. News is 24 hours which means that someone is always working at RNN News Network. I know this as inherent truth because later down the line I worked two overnight shifts from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The actual work of my internship involved more assistance than initiative. My supervisors expected me to leap at tasks, yes, but ultimately they never charged me with too much responsibility considering the sensitive nature of a news station and its content. I helped assignment editors find stories, contact reporters, deliver messages and maintain a sense of sanity and level-headedness. It was my first experience working with adults all largely older than me so I like to think I kept them grounded in their more frustrated moments.
My internship was unfortunately only three-weeks-long because, before I knew it, it was time to return to Conn! On my last day, I thanked my supervisors and fellow coworkers. I made sure they understood how grateful I was for the opportunity. My internship was amazing for many reasons, the primary of which was gaining concrete experience to leverage in the real world. I am proud to say my supervisor informed me that I received great feedback throughout my short tenure. I knew in that moment I had truly come full circle and made one of those coveted connections my mom so often preaches about.
My conversation with my supervisor continued and she ended with an instruction: I should check out RNN’s job postings after I graduate and check whether they have any availability…