Deciding on a major was difficult, but once I figured that out, deciding what I wanted to do with it became the bigger challenge. Communication is a wonderfully broad major that offers different career paths to choose from, including journalism. What should I choose?
One afternoon, while talking to University of Mobile math professor Dr. Troy Henderson, I noticed a church pen on his desk. As a transfer student to University of Mobile from California, I was still in the process of finding a new home church, so I decided to ask him about it. By the end of a conversation, a visit to his church, meeting some people at church, and a few phone calls, I was in contact with WKRG-TV, a local news station, with a possible summer internship.
Wow, an internship with a news station? This was an opportunity of a lifetime that I could not pass up. Was news what I wanted to do with my communication degree? I was still undecided, but I knew taking the internship would either open or close a door, which means I would be one step closer to making a career decision.
Taking the internship was not a clear or easy decision. It meant giving up my stress-free summer of going home to see family, friends and pets, but I realized I had to do what was best for me in hopes of figuring out my future. I am beyond happy that I took the leap of faith.
Being from out of state, no place to live during summer break, and no job, this leap of faith required me to put trust fully on God. I received a job at University of Mobile as a part-time lifeguard. The job included housing and money, answering both of my prayers! Now all I had to focus on was the internship.
I was nervous, deciding what to wear in the heat of south Alabama and not knowing what I would be doing on my first day at News 5. Thankfully, I remembered Mrs. Lawrencine Mason’s workshops in the Student Success Center that informed me what was and was not appropriate to wear. Before I left the house, I made sure I was in attire that would be Mrs. Lawrencine-approved.
Of the seven summer interns, I was the first one on the job. This meant, I was the first intern everyone got to know, which I used to my advantage. Executive Producer at WKRG, Ms. Emily Forrester, gave me some advice: “Take advantage of this opportunity. If you want to know more about a position, shadow someone and do not be afraid to bother them with questions. There are so many parts of a newscast, and a person good at their job understands every part of it.”
So, I did exactly that. I used each day of my internship learning about each position. Some days, after the morning meeting, I would ride along with a reporter or photographer for their stories. They would teach me how to use the camera so I could film video. I was able to record stand-ups; where I get to tell the story in front of the camera holding the microphone.
I learned what happens when a reporter is in the field and goes live for the newscast. I learned better communication skills, because as a reporter you have to be bold and engage in conversation to get the information needed.
After a long day of interviews, filming, etc. we come back to the station to edit. Sometimes, the reporters or photographers would include video I filmed in their stories or would even include me! The reporters taught me how to voice track, edit my video, and how to create packages for the news. Other days, I would stay at the station and talk with the anchors, producers, or directors. I had the opportunity to write stories for the newscast that the anchor would read on air. I even practiced being an anchor (off air, of course)! The internship allowed me to do things I had never done before, like ride along in a boat with Marine Resource Officers.
To anyone and everyone, I highly recommend finding an internship. Internships are a great way to figure out what you want to do, or in some cases you may find something you do not want to do. I came out of my internship not only with great experience I can put on my resume, but also wonderful connections. As Mrs. Lawrencine has said, “It’s all about connections.”
The people at WKRG taught me so much, but the main reason I learned so much was my drive to learn. I knew if a job at a news station was what I wanted to do by the end of the internship, I had to prove I was capable and willing. By the end of the summer, a job opened at WKRG and I am currently the newest employee! Had I not sacrificed going home, I might still be indecisive about my career, and jobless.
I am so grateful to the professors and for the experiences at University of Mobile that prepared me to succeed.