1. When I love something this much, the rest of life falls into place

I’ve been interning with Triad City Beat since January, and as I head into my final month and we start looking for the next recruit, I’ve been reflecting on how much this spring has changed me. One beautiful surprise is how after stepping away from a job to jump off of the crazy cliff that is a part-time unpaid internship with a small newspaper, things took care of themselves, such as other part-time jobs magically lining up so I could eat. Because I wanted this gig so badly, I adjusted the rest as best as I could to make space for it.

  1. The Triad is beautiful and expansive

Before this internship, I was a Greensboro resident. Now, if or when I move and people ask me where I just came from, I’ll tell them I lived in the Triad. As a journalist I’ve seen pieces of Winston-Salem and High Point I never knew existed, and I’m sure I echo my editors’ wonder that so much of it is still unexplored and untapped.

  1. Who I am at 3:24 a.m. alone at my laptop is the real me

After pushing past initial waves of distraction and exhaustion, I usually hit a wall the night before deadlines, where no one is watching me, where I could close my computer and go to sleep, or push through and do justice to the artist I’m writing about. The choice to keep writing and to do it well is hard each time, but those private and lonely moments with the LED glow of my screen are the moments of this internship I’m proudest of.

  1. To be well liked by all, do not become a journalist (too late)

Transitioning from the marketing world into journalism has taken some adjusting, primarily in how my job is to inform and not convince. I’m a naturally passionate person that can end up selling tickets for the play I’m reviewing if I’m not careful. The theater has someone they pay to do that. My job is to provide an accurate assessment for readers.

  1. Record everything, double-check everything, assume nothing

Mistakes happen, especially when you’re the intern and a rookie reporter to boot. I’ve learned no matter how good my notes are, I can’t completely trust them or my memory. I’m just not that good. So I got a recording app and back up every voice file, and ask better follow-up questions. It’s self-preservation, sure, but more importantly it can protect the reputation of the paper and that of the person I interview.

  1. The payoff is worth the struggle

This job is very hard. To do it for no pay was part of the deal, but often serves as a way to understand just how much writing drives me and how much I believe in this paper. I’ll think of this spring as a costly but worthwhile genetic test, finding out what I’m truly made of, and what I’m meant to do. For that and the countless other lessons, I’m forever grateful to you, dear readers, for making this paper exist and believing in it with me.