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Career

So You Need An Internship. Now What?

Welcome to the first of a new series we’re doing on finding and working as interns! This new series will have our writers going into how they found their internships, their challenges, what they learned, and more. Kicking off the series is editor in chief Merlin with her experience interning at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Keep reading to hear her journey and keep an eye out for more internship stories!

Along with schoolwork, dating apps and television, it feels like internships are on people’s minds. Most of the people in my social circle have had at least one, and there seems to be a wide variety of experiences, especially because internships are a normal occurrence in almost every industry. I moved to New York for the opportunities that I needed to begin my career. As a Film & TV major, it would be absurd to not seek out an intern position at a studio, especially because sitting in a classroom was making me stir-crazy. I stumbled upon a production internship at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee completely by accident, I was just scrolling through The New Schools’ career site,(now HireNew). I was immediately interested, being familiar with the show I knew it aligned well with my professional and personal interests. I got extremely lucky. But I also did meticulous and thorough preparation after I applied. I watched bits over and over, and took notes. Read interviews. I visited every interview tip site and practiced an interview with my parents. I even called my mom over the phone immediately before my interview, it distracted from my nervousness, got my mouth moving, and even made me feel funnier. 

The internship itself was so fantastic, and although working at a comedy show is fun, it’s also a ton of work. The bulk of my duties as one of the 11ish college-age interns included: transcribing and editing other news clips, running errands, recording receipts and worst of them all, moving equipment. These tasks are typical of internships, and they are key to keeping the show run smoothly. While I was competent and enthusiastic in doing these tasks, I did have an unnecessary sense of urgency, especially early on, that caused me to make (usually stupid) mistakes. At the halfway mark through the internship, each of us got feedback and my rushing was…noticeable. My internship director was extremely kind about it, and it was well-received. Me not thinking things through has been a problem since, well, always, but seeing how it affected my perspective career made me want to work on it and I have to say, it’s paid off.

My enthusiasm is absolutely what made me valuable to the team. I was down for any task, always on time, and always asking questions. Balancing my school work, my job, my internship, and my personal life was no easy feat, but prioritizing myself and the internship was the best thing for my health and happiness. As the end of the internship approached, I knew I needed to leave with a letter of recommendation. It’s not the easiest thing to ask for, but getting over your pride is absolutely necessary for an internship. They don’t expect you to be perfect at your job, and they also expect that you will use this experience to build your life moving forward. I asked for my letter of recommendation the week after the internship has ended, giving them a moment to breathe but not enough time that they would forget the specifics about my performance. I received a lovely letter. 

I am so glad that I was able to have this experience because I learned so much about my own goals and ways to problem solve in a professional setting and the daily expectations of someone working in a TV office. 

Merlin Garcia

New School '21

Merlin Garcia was born in Austin, Texas and now attends Eugene Lang College. She studies film with a concentration in screenwriting. She hopes to someday work in television and publish a book of essays.
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