I wrote an article this week about the Waukee School-to-Work program, and I, myself, am an intern through that program. Well, by the time this runs, I will have just one day left as a School-to-Work intern, which is completely bizarre.
On October 21, 2013, I started my internship here at the Dallas County News. It was scary and exciting and nerve wracking and intimidating all at the same time, and I couldn’t tell you which of those emotions was most prominent at the time. All I know is that I don’t think those butterflies in my stomach have ever flapped around so much, no matter how cliché it is to say that; and as a writer, clichés are supposed to be my worst enemy.
Looking back now, I don’t know why I was so nervous. I was starting a job in a small, quiet, and cozy office as a writer. What could be so bad about that? As it turns out, not much. For six hours per week, I get to sit in my own little cubicle while writing and listening to music – and may I just say I have discovered some beautiful movie scores during my time here because did you know that’s the best type of music to listen to while doing work because it’s designed to keep your focus and not distract? But that’s another column for another day (another cliché…).
I have always loved to read and write, and yes, my favorite school subject has always been English. When I was little I was the kid who would ask for just one more bedtime story over and over and then stay up reading under my covers by the glow of a flashlight even after that. Because of my vast interest in the written, creative word, I had convinced myself that a career as an author was perfect for me.
When I discovered that fictional stories don’t really make their way into my mind so easily, at least not then and still not now, I decided I would stick to writing more practical things. It’s odd, but although I consider myself a very creative person who loves the arts and, obviously, writing, I still have a very deep appreciation and love for organization and practicality. Who knew? (Another cliché).
After deciding that a more practical approach to writing was meant for me, I knew I would end up writing for a newspaper at some point in my life. I did not know, however, that I would end up writing at a newspaper as a senior in high school. Enter the School-to-Work program at Waukee.
The School-to-Work program is basically a select group of 30 students who are placed in an internship in the career field of their choice. I was lucky enough to have been chosen for this program after the application process during my junior year. And now, here I am. Not many high schoolers can say they have been published on the front page of a public paper multiple times, but I have, which is very humbling and amazing at the same time.
During my time here at the Dallas County News, I have written about a smattering of topics, from the Waukee’s Raccoon River Valley Trail art project to Hope Animal Rescue to Sweet Rewards Bakery. And those are just formal articles I’ve written. I have also composed a fifteen-week-and-running educator series and rewritten a variety of press releases and council meeting minutes. I was also able to attend a few events about which I later wrote up articles.
As much as I have written during my time here, I have learned a great deal more. I have learned how to write in an editorial style, how to compile a list of questions and conduct an interview, how to proof mock-ups, and so much more (another cliché).
I learned so much during my time at the newspaper; in fact, I think I learned something from each and every person I had the pleasure of working with during my time here. I want to thank Allison, Nancy, Jane, Clint, Sam, and Ruth for the influence they have had on me, even if they don’t even know what that influence would have been.
I would like to give a special thanks to Allison, who was my mentor during my time here. Allison, you taught me so much about the art of a newspaper but more importantly to be a kind and genuine person in an industry that isn’t always necessarily seen in that way. You have inspired me to be thoughtful, humorous, and intelligent no matter what I end up doing in the future. Thank you.
No matter what the future holds for me (another cliché), I hope to share the art of writing in some way, shape, or form (another cliché). I hope to give a voice to those who are not heard, words to those thoughts that are not spoken, and meaning to all that truly matters. Thank you for following along with me these past seven months, and I hope you, too, find your voice (my final, and perhaps most essential, cliché).