EL PASO – As I was walking toward my first day in the Univision 26 newsroom, the news director, and my new boss, Zoltan Csany asked me how I felt. Without hesitation I answered, “very excited!”
As soon as I entered the building I knew I was in the right place. Ever since I knew I could do an internship wherever I wanted, in my mind there was only one place – Univision 26. With graduation only three semesters away, I began to think that my best option was to gain some experience doing an internship. After a couple of visits to the internship advisors the day came when she asked me, (and I remember perfectly) “If you could have your way, what would you do?”
Although I was presented with many options, I did not even have to think about it and immediately answered Channel 26. On December of 2011 I started my dream internship at Univision 26.
WASHINGTON – I strongly believe in the common phrase “everything happens for a reason,” and entering the fall internship at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire fits the expression perfectly. Not only did I arrive here during Hispanic Heritage Month, making the transition from El Paso to Washington a little easier, but I also got the opportunity to witness two brave female reporters from El Diario de Juarez receive the Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists. Rocío Idalia Gallegos Rodríguez and Sandra Rodríguez Nieto earned master’s degrees in journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso, my hometown university where I am majoring in multimedia journalism. We also happen to share a mentor, Zita Arocha, senior lecturer and director of the university’s online magazine, Borderzine.com. Gallegos and Nieto’s passion for journalism has led them to risk their lives every day, living and reporting in Juarez, a city ruled by corruption and impunity.
EL PASO — The music festival was a living, breathing organism of 11,000 blurry faces, bright lights and loud sounds. Walking through the darkness and seeing the excitement of people dancing frantically to their favorite artists made me understand that we all shared the same mutual amazement for the present. And I had helped to make it happen. Two months earlier, I had received one of these so called “suggested student opportunities” messages via email. I needed an internship I could care about and Splendid Sun Productions wanted interns to help put on a music and arts festival entitled Neon Desert Music Festival on April 30th, 2011.
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.
EL PASO, Texas — This past summer, I forced myself to be more involved with extracurricular activities that would build my resume. Naturally, the best and most productive thing I could do during the summer, aside from working, was to get an internship. Personally, the hardest part about finding an internship was finding out who I was. I didn’t want to commit myself wholeheartedly to an organization if my interests changed in my habitually fickle manner – from general communication studies, to creative writing, to digital media production, to multimedia journalism, to wanting to write for a music magazine. It’s hard to be motivated to do something if you’re not even sure if that is what you love most.
Five in the morning is too early to fly, especially if you’ve spent most of the night before waking up and thinking about the possibilities of living in Washington, D.C.
But there I was, heaving my carry-on’s down the crowded aisle of the plane. I found my seat too soon, for I had already noticed the two middle aged men wearing vacant expressions and seating on each side of it. I dawdled on, looking around hoping that was not my seat, but of course it was. I fought one of my bags into the compartment above, and was not surprised to see that none of my seat companions offered a hand, but I excused their lack of amiability and slithered into my seat. As I sat down I had to fight my gag reflexes, for the worst, smelliest, grossest smell of beer, sweat and after-shave invaded my nostrils.
EL PASO, Texas — As a senior majoring in multimedia journalism at UTEP I knew I had to obtain some work experience in my field to get my foot in the door after I graduate. This semester I was able to land an internship with KVIA ABC 7 to learn how to become a producer. Being a news junkie I thought I had this in the bag. This was not the case. Although I eventually got the hang of it, I first had to learn how to overcome obstacles.
New Orleans composer Allen Toussaint once said “To get to New Orleans you don’t pass through anywhere else. That geographical location, being aloof, lets it hold onto the ritual of its own pace.” Sound familiar? As my last semester at UTEP draws to a close, the magnitude of change that has and will come my way has been so palpable that the last few months have become a blur of reflections over my career, what I will be doing in the next five years and wondering how I will ship Hatch chili to Louisiana. Had someone warned me about this, I probably would have laughed incredulously. However, less than a year ago, I obtained a public relations position within a local liquor company that will soon branch out to New Orleans, Louisiana.
There was once a time in my life that I felt I would never break into the degree professions. I knew I would never be a high level executive, unless I started from the bottom and worked exceptionally hard. I also knew that many of my dreams would be inaccessible without a degree. Teaching English abroad, working in government, becoming a broadcaster; all these things are out of reach for someone without a degree, or at least trying to gain one. One day, that changed when I made the decision to get back into school after a three-year break after graduating high school.
WASHINGTON D.C. — Hey, there’s a brave new world out there! It’s been almost two years since my graduation from college and I was very happy to have a chance to walk around the UTEP campus and run into Ms. Esther Barragan last week, who was a major part of ensuring that my experience at UTEP was filled with internships. We talked about a lot of concerns that she has been hearing from students who are a little shy about doing things like taking an internships or studying abroad, which sounds like basically a fear of doing anything outside of El Paso. I would like to spend the next couple lines sharing how doing just those things made me able to have a “Why not?” attitude, which has really helped me to find a fun life in Washington, D.C.
When I was a junior at chUTEP, do you guys still call it that? Hopefully somebody will put that on a t-shirt, which can be very lucrative for clubs.