Why internships are important…Part 2

Internship

Finally I get to it. This is part two of my internship post. You might want to read that first part if you haven’t done so yet to understand the story better.

Ok so here it goes.

After I concluded my first internship at the consulting firm, I didn’t exactly have a concrete plan of what to do next in mind. I had recently rekindled my passion for writing. Actually the passion was still there but I was such a lazy writer. Anyway, my colleague used to notice me reading articles during my free time and when she asked me about it, I told her how I love reading and writing. The conversation ended with her encouraging me to pick up writing again since it was something that came naturally to me. I did and it felt great but I didn’t know if I could make anything out of it aside it being a hobby.

A chance meeting with Tara Fela-Durotoye was the opportunity I needed to find out if I could make a career out of my hobby. I had interviews with two of the leading magazine publications in Nigeria and I got my second internship with one of them. During the interview, I was informed that they do not pay interns. What a shocker. My mind was racing at this point but I told myself I had to make the sacrifice. I got a monthly stipend of less than N10,000 which basically covered my transport. My game plan was the same as my first internship; learn as much as I could and be valuable.

And so I started. This internship was much tougher than the first. While things were mostly calm and steady in the first one, every thing was at a fast pace in the second one. And my boss was a perfectionist. So a lot of times I had to do more than my best. My initial duties were to write two articles per day and immerse myself in tons of magazines to get a feel of their writing style and editorial direction. You would think these were easy tasks but they weren’t. Soon enough I moved from that to having a target of five articles per day and I was to shadow the copy editor and learn about the magazine creation process. Before I knew it, I had become the driving force of the magazine; creating content, organising interviews and photo shoots, putting together the editorial team, managing the distribution and sales of the magazine, handling social media and amongst other things. All this happened barely six months after I joined as an intern. The internship lasted for four months and I was offered the position of Editorial Assistant and was later promoted to Assistant Editor. It was a great learning experience but it was also a painful one because that job stretched me a lot! I look back now and wonder how I was able to do all that I did. What I know is that I was determined not to fail. I took every correction and criticism as best as I could and learnt from them. When I wanted to give up, I had a support group (my awesome colleagues) who encouraged me and kept me going. To be honest, I think my second internship made me the workaholic that I have become today because you just had to be ahead of the game. But I am glad that I was given such an opportunity. I was groomed by one of the best in the media industry.

So here I am today, two years and some months later; refined, more skilled and more knowledgeable. I have a clearer understanding of what I want to do with my life. The two internship positions helped me to discover my passion. My passion is creating good content. My passion is the media. Most importantly, by being an intern, I have been able to demonstrate what I can bring to the table and garner a wealth of experience that others can only dream of having. Please don’t take internships for granted. Most times, it is a sacrifice especially when you are a graduate and the bills are piling up but trust me, if you stick with it and focus on adding value, the sky would only be the starting point for you. Let me also add that everybody you meet in the course of your internship is important. Make sure you develop good work ethics. We know you are a graduate; there’s no need to have a pompous attitude. Respect everyone, even the cleaner and most importantly learn! That is the whole point of internships.

There you have it. My story so far. Writing this brought back so many great memories. If you started out as an intern and you would like to share your story, you can get in touch with me. Also, The Future Project in collaboration with Jobberman have launched an employability programme, Intern4jobs which will connect job seekers with job opportunities via internships. So if you are still searching for a job, you should register with them.

As an aside, shout out to my former boss, Mr Seye (the SC at my first internship). He read the first part of this story and wrote on my Facebook page about how he is so proud of me. Thank you so much sir. I truly appreciate your comment. Also shout out to my second boss, Chude Jideonwo, only few could have done what he did; entrust a thriving magazine into the hands of a young, inexperienced young lady. He saw something in me that even I didn’t see in myself. I am grateful sir.

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