I’m working on an article for an upcoming issue of Prairie Business that focuses on internships and mentorship opportunities for college students. I’m finding out some schools offer really incredible programs.
I interned at the Grand Forks Herald when I was in college, was hired as a part-time general assignment reporter when my internship was over and was hired as a full-time education reporter after I graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. I spent a year in that role, worked for a clean energy industry trade journal for a few years and then came back to the Herald, first as the editor of Agweek and now as editor of Prairie Business. Had I not had that first internship at the Herald, I don’t know what I’d be doing now. But I’m glad I’m here.
Internships don’t always result in job offers, but they’re a foot in the door and a great way to network and make important connections. I didn’t know I wanted to be a journalist until I took UND’s Community Journalism class, which directly led to my Herald internship. That journalism professor forced us to get out there and meet people, make connections and beg for our work to be published. It was humbling. But effective. And today I can trace my entire career back to that first attempt at a news article, a nervous 20-year-old me asking a city editor to publish my work, and that same editor deciding I should expand my writing talent as his intern.
College students: Take advantage of those opportunities, even if right now you think they’re pointless. You might end up somewhere unexpected and better than you had planned.