Internships and college: Is it worth the work?



Madeleine McCormick | News Editor

As if college isn’t hard enough finding balance between classes and a social life, you’d think having to incorporate an internship into your daily routine makes things double as hard. Well, not exactly.

I would say that I am an exceptionally involved student participating in multiple organizations on campus. I do everything from entertaining my musical theatre minor singing in A Capella choir to being a member of Student Activities Board.

On top of all that, just to throw myself an extra challenge, this semester I’m interning with a local Storm Lake Newspaper, The Times.

I knew I wanted to be a news media representative of some kind when I got to college, but in a year, writing news has become a calling. The work of a journalist is almost never recognized in a positive light, considering the recent exploits of the media, but I wanted to learn how to change the stigma through my writing.

I got the internship through recently retired professor Dr. Bruce Ellingson, who nominated me for the Tina Donath Annual Memorial Award Scholarship for Excellence in Print Journalism; it’s a mouthful.

I applied for the scholarship, writing an essay about why I wanted to be in journalism and submitting my résumé, which didn’t have much on it considering I was only a freshman at the time. Regardless, I nailed the internship and was rewarded a $1000 scholarship and $500 stipend (which will also be used as scholarship).

I spend the majority of my three days per week writing articles or driving to interviews just to get the inside scoop. I’ve found that balancing these activities with my classes and classwork is relatively easy, most of the time.

Not to mention, the people I’m surrounded by are some of the most influential and ingenious people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Art and John Cullen started the Storm Lake Times in 1990 and it has flourished thanks to the hard work of the Cullen family, a tradition that I am happy to be learning from.

I’m not saying that the internship is any walk in the park either; it definitely has its ups and downs. For example: It was my first article written as the lead story for the front page and I as I was working on it, my editor approached me and said, “This is going to be the lead story for the front page, so don’t *bleep* it up.”

You can imagine what the *bleep* represents.

I’m constantly writing articles and being asked “have you started that yet?” To which I almost always reply “no,” then begin on the story immediately.

The feeling of having my articles published to a nationally acclaimed newspaper, seen all over the United States is inexplicably rewarding.

I have learned so much about newswriting; how to develop good questions, how to produce a good interview, getting the news up-front and most importantly, how to portray the truth.

Disclaimer: It’s only my third week, but so far I don’t see anything wrong with adding an internship to your weekly routine. In fact, I would recommend it.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in a year’s attendance at Buena Vista University as a Digital Media major, it’s not passing up any opportunity to help myself or another student succeed as a media representative.

The work can be exhausting, and the brain power it takes to learn to report the news can make your head spin, but the way I see it, they didn’t have paved roads without gravel first.

Photo by Stephanie Steiner