Don’t let internship opportunities pass you by

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EL PASO – As I start my senior year this summer studying multimedia journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), I realized I had to take a bigger step toward acquiring that experience we are constantly told we need. That is, building my resume even more by obtaining an internship.

By the end of Fall 2010 semester, I had already sent all of my applications to several newsrooms across the country and to my surprise, I got a phone call from Washington D.C. It turned out I was one of the finalists to be selected as an intern for The Hispanic Link. I interviewed with Charlie Ericksen and he told me to wait for a phone call as they would notify me in several weeks that if I would be the chosen intern. I never got that call.

Now, I’ve been working as a staff writer for The Prospector Student Publications for almost two years now. Even though I have written more than 50 published articles, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t chosen because I still didn’t have quite enough experience.

My advice to all students — get as much experience as you possibly can. That means one has to do work in the classroom and outside as well to get different experiences and see what it’s like to be out there in the real world. One of my fellow co-workers from The Prospector is graduating this May and he is the Entertainment Editor.

He was the first person to have offered me the position after him. I thought about it at first and I had many concerns. I wondered if I could do it while going to school and  working at a part-time job outside of college.

However, I realized that not getting the former internship changed my attitude and I agreed to become Entertainment Editor.
I talked to Professor Zita Arocha and she told me I could be working at The Prospector for a semester and by doing so, I could also get internship credit. I wouldn’t have known had I not talked to Professor Arocha.

My best advice for students is to not be afraid of the opportunities that are placed in front of you. At The Prospector, we recently published our very last issue of the year — the graduation issue. It was officially my first day of learning how to be an editor. I was truly amazed of all the hard work we do around here to publish the bi-weekly paper.

I learned how to edit stories and place them in the newspaper layout. Then I had to create small boxes and names for the headlines, sub-headlines, place pictures that go well with the story and much more. Now, this all sounds easier than it actually is but that is what I am learning and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to be a different step and I am going to see the different side of the editorial section, — a higher position with bigger responsibilities.

Even if students don’t get their first internship outside of El Paso, there are many opportunities locally. Learning and getting a first experience here could just be your ticket out the door to obtaining an internship out of town.

Perhaps I was not ready for an internship in D.C. yet, but now I am more than excited to take this other position that will ultimately help me prepare for what comes next. Remember to set your goals and not get discouraged. There are many internships out there.

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