This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be offered two different journalism internships. I’m guessing the average person would feel torn between the two, spending the time to make a pros and cons list and do extensive research on the companies, but I’ve always been a quite ambitious person, and I enjoy testing the limits of my comfort zone.
It wasn’t long before I began thinking, “Why not choose both?” I knew doing two internships at once would be a challenge, but I also thought it would be a really good challenge. After all, I was going to be home all summer, so why not just dive in headfirst and make the most out of what had been offered?
The first internship I accepted was as a social action/travel writer for CATALYST.cm, an online journalism platform dedicated to sharing global events, world cultures, destinations and social causes. In this role, I spent time researching and pitching a variety of topics on social action and travel, which my supervisor would then help me workshop and produce.
The second internship I accepted was through the New Jersey Press Association at The Bergen Record. The Record is a New Jersey based publication operated by USA Today, and has the second largest circulation of New Jersey’s daily newspapers. As an intern with this company, I was treated like a real reporter: I wrote stories, reported on local events and even sat in on important state legislature decisions. On three occasions, I got to see my work on the front page of the paper.
Each internship helped me develop vastly different skills, which is why it worked out so well for me to choose to do both. While only one of the internships was full-time, I definitely felt overbooked at times. I made sure to separate out different chunks of my day to do work for each internship, especially because each internship required such different work and such different parts of my brain. Working for both publications helped me adjust to the fast-paced workload of a journalist, and gave me a taste of the everything that goes in to different types of stories.
From my internship with Catalyst, I learned to expand my world knowledge and write about issues and countries that I would never normally write about. Catalyst forced me to think differently about global topics and write in ways that take in different perspectives — not just local ones, but a wide range of perspectives. The future of women in Afghanistan, some of the most dangerous hikes in the world, and climate change affecting Italy’s Lake Como were just a few of the many stories I wrote for Catalyst.
On the other hand, my internship with The Record focused solely on local events and politics in my own state. Even though I wasn’t writing about crazy events in international cities, covering events in surrounding towns broadened my perspective in the same way writing for Catalyst did.
I was given the leeway to pitch my own stories on lighter topics, like one of my favorite stories on New Jersey Memes, a popular Instagram account that makes funny memes about New Jersey’s very opinionated population. But I was also surprised to learn so much about my home state that I didn’t already know, and I truly enjoyed being able to connect with others that lived near me. When the summer was over, I was more fond of where I grew up than I had ever been before. I traveled to the New Jersey statehouse to report on police protests and new bills. I attended a drug addiction and overdose awareness event near my town for a story I was writing about a local organization. I wrote about local anti-war activists and how they responded to U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan. The stories I wrote for The Record are among the ones I am most proud of in my journalism career so far, and I might never have done any of it if I hadn’t taken a chance on both internships.
Because I did both of these internships, I feel more prepared than ever before to continue my journalism career at Boston University, and I walked away having more skills in my literary toolkit that will later benefit me in the professional world. I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything. If you’re considering doing two internships at the same time and are scared that it may be too overwhelming or stressful, my advice is to consider the hours and workload for each internship and first decide if they can be done simultaneously; I probably would have had a different experience if both of my internships were full-time. If you have multiple offers that look amazing on paper, and the time required for both feels manageable, go for it! There’s no reason not to explore every opportunity that comes your way.