Intern experience ... priceless in my book
As the summer comes to an end so does my internship here at the Leelanau Enterprise.
To be honest, it’s a feeling that’s bittersweet.
With only a week left before I bid farewell to the newsroom and staff I’ve spent the past four months working with, it’s not surprising I find myself reflecting on the experience I’ve had. To say it’s been a lopsided victory would be false.
In fact, the Enterprise has given me all I can handle. There were times I pushed deadlines, couldn’t get certain interviews and even had to put off an adventure or two until the following week.
Even the ‘96 Honda Odyssey my parents let me borrow this summer, a champion vehicle to say the least, wasn’t exactly ready for everything the job had in store for me. I have a wheel bearing that’s in desperate need of replacement and I’ve easily gone through at least two oil changes, but everything comes with the territory and I’m confi- dent my journalistic skills have increased by leaps and bounds.
It’s true what they say, “The hottest fires forge the strongest steel.”
I took my lashings when I deserved them. OK, it was never that severe, but the staff made sure I recognized my mistakes and took steps in the right direction to correct them each week. With a group of co-workers that have been in the profession longer than I’ve been alive, there was an incredible amount of insight I had at my disposal.
They even coddled me at times, making sure I was on the right track and adjusted when I fell behind. Like much of the county we live in, the newsroom functioned as a close knit family and of course I took on the role laid out for me — the kid.
Without the years of experience under my belt, there was much to discover.
Al might agree, the skills I had coming in were a little rough.
Mike and I spent hours refining story leads and discussing the exact science behind a good photo. Fortunately my grammar was fairly clean — something I’m sure he appreciated. I discovered my note-taking relied far too heavily on today’s technology and I needed to be reminded that once upon a time pen and paper worked fine, too. Most importantly though, was getting the ideas on paper as soon as possible. With so many ideas swirling in my head, I found it difficult to stay focused. Without the collective help of the entire newsroom staff, I might still be working on my first couple of stories.
The process may not have gone smoothly at all times, but my ability to work hard, keep an open mind and, above all, smile allowed me to continuously move forward and develop skills that will serve me well as I take the next step down my desired career path.
Putting together a well written story was only half of the experience the Enterprise had to offer me.
The best part? Seeing my home from a different perspective every week.
Few jobs would have afforded me the opportunity to spend a morning on the Bardenhagen’s farm picking cherries one week, then allow me to fly over Leland and Suttons Bay in a seaplane from Northwestern Michigan College.
I met visitors and park rangers that have helped the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore set attendance records through July and local musicians that put on some of the best concerts in Northern Michigan.
So hats off to everyone who has worked with me throughout this summer. The connections I’ve made in just a few short months have been worth every bit of writer’s block I encountered.
If I’m not careful Mike might try to file this away as a thank you letter and shorten it to 100 words or less, but I truly appreciate everything the Leelanau Enterprise and its readers have provided me with.
The statement I made in my first column rings louder than ever — I want to spend my life here in Leelanau County.