When You Have To Keep It Local: Get Involved on Campus
This is a guest post from our current campus ambassador Alexandra Abel. Alex is a junior at Binghamton University, majoring in English Literature & Rhetoric & minoring in Spanish.
Attending Binghamton University in the middle of nowhere New York can seem to have its internship drawbacks. Not being by a major city kills me when I check internship posts that advertise high profile media outlets in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles during the fall and spring. That only leaves me with summer possibilities in these hot spots, which equals major competition. But I discovered that I couldn’t only rely on summer, and needed experience to get out there and learn. Keeping an open mind, I was eager to get experience with any type of communication outlet that could help me achieve my goals. Here are my tips on what to do to get involved with internships at your school:
- Check on campus first. If magazines are your favorite, see if your college has an on-campus one that highlights fashion or cool things to do in the area. Then figure out how to write for them. Working for an on-campus group is the most accessible as the purpose of it is to help students. By getting really involved, the potential for increased responsibility and leadership potential will arise, generating even more experience. By writing for my school paper, Pipe Dream, for a year, I was able to move up to the job of assistant news editor. On top of that, working for a completely student run newspaper forced me to jump into the fire and learn by doing. The best part is, I didn’t even have to leave my school’s campus to do it!
- Attend EVERYTHING. Okay, while I would need to clone myself and turn into the sleepless Edward Cullen in order to do so, the bottom line is that you should attend as much as you possibly can! The best part about being on a college campus is that there is so much going on. Every week there are a million lectures and meetings. Even though I can’t go to all, I go to as many as I can which allows me to meet new people and open my mind to new possibilities. The advising center at my school held a panel called “Liberal Arts to Communications” last year. We don’t have a communications program or school here at Binghamton, so I couldn’t be more there. I went and met the news director for the Fox television affiliate in Binghamton. I introduced myself, talked about some things and ended up asking about internship opportunities. She hooked me up with the assignment editor there and I was able to land an internship for the following semester! The internship was amazing and gave me so many contacts that I still stay in touch with. And by doing it locally, I got to work with a smaller news station where I had complete hands on experience of writing stories, editing video clips and conducting interviews. If I hadn’t gone to this panel, I probably would have missed out on the whole experience. Moral of the story: you never know where you’ll find that next opportunity.
- Be aggressive. B-E aggressive. So yes, I’ll admit I’m still tied to my old cheerleader roots. But the lessons I learned still apply to today! In order to get an internship you have to go at it full force, something that I remind myself of all the time. Get yourself on your major department’s e-mail list-serve, sign up for websites (like Intern Queen!) and stay in touch with all different types of people. You never know who or what will be able to get you connected with the right person or the right internship.
- And finally, (alert - another cheerleader lesson) stay positive! If you’ve received a few internship rejections, don’t let that weight bring you down. There will be something out there for you, and often staying local and doing it by your school is the way to make that happen.