A Late Internship
As a senior at Rowan with no real work experience in my field, coming into the Writing Arts internship was a little daunting. I honestly felt like I had fallen behind my peers, as many of them had already taken jobs at the Writing Center, tutoring, or other similar department work,. I originally came into this internship with the intention of just doing some quick busywork to jot down on my resume and move on, but what I found was something that was honestly very enjoyable and rewarding, if a little difficult compared to standard schoolwork. Though after surviving the semester, I can safely say this was the right decision and I'll be happy to return Spring of 2019 as an intern once again.
Working With Publishers
One of the first things I did as part of the Writing Arts department internship was work alongside Ben Allen at his publishing company Tonic Books: a field that I had been looking forward to working in for a very long time. However, as I've come to learn over the course of the internship, publishing is much less glamorous than it initially seems. For one, it's a ton of research and dirty work, digging through annals after annals of various authors, topics, and time periods to discover any potential gems within. Sifting through ghostwriters, NYT bestsellers, and social media influencers in an attempt to find useable material was definitely something I had no experience with beforehand. The sheer amount of data feels mountainous, almost insurmountable in terms of its breadth and spectrum of information. However, that's not to say it wasn't enjoyable. I actually felt as though I learned a lot about the research that goes into publication through this internship, especially nonfiction work, and certain aspects, such as the trends that sell the most, are not at all what I was initially expecting. Tonic provided interesting insight into the realm of publication and it's definitely an experience I'll remember for years to come.
Managing Rowan Websites
If there's one thing I've learned from the internship program, it's that changes to course curriculum or staff information can happen at a moment's notice, and that there always has to be someone ready to update that change to all official Rowan websites. This semester, that someone was primarily me. As a student of Writing Arts, I was already familiar with online production sites such as Wordpress and Wix but working in larger, more complex systems like Cascade felt very daunting at first. However, the learning curve to managing and updating websites is nowhere nearly as steep as it initially seemed, and it felt extremely rewarding to see my progression of experience throughout the semester. Changes that would have initially taken me 10-20 minutes to publish on websites were starting to only take 5 by the end of the program, and I'm sure I'll have more work to do come Spring 2019. Though, as it stands, producing new web pages and updating existing ones isn't as scary of a task as it initially sounds, and once you get the hang of it, everything starts to fall into place extremely quickly. But of course, as I learned with the recent Wordpress update, sites can change their interfaces at the drop of a hat, so being technologically experienced and prepared for that is something that will always be useful, and a skill I feel I have acquired through this internship.
Conducting Interviews and Writing Articles
As part of the Writing Arts internship, I produced an article for the online publication known as Writer's Insider: a collection of pieces written by fellow interns in the department. Being a senior with a lot of writing experience in a bunch of different genres, I approached the project with quite a bit of confidence in my own abilities. I decided to write about grading creative writing in higher education, a fairly complex topic which would involve me interviewing multiple members of the Rowan Writing Arts department and combining their responses with my own personal experience. I had never written an interview in article form but as I said before, my previous experience was enough to embolden me to try something ambitious. However, I would quickly learn that things were not always as easy as they seem. Producing good interview questions, distributing them to the right people, collecting their responses in time, and then generating a coherent article using my collected data proved to be quite the undertaking, and I felt the project starting to slip away from me. Despite my struggles, the internship program provided me with a lot of useful feedback and helped me eventually create something I was genuinely proud of. The final result is far more coherent and generally useful than the first few drafts and I feel I owe that progress almost entirely to my peers, as well as a few researched online examples, that helped me along the way.
The Writing Arts internship program was something that was honestly pretty intimidating at first. Before I met anyone involved, I had a lot of anxiety about whether or not I would fit in, or even be capable of doing the work in the first place. However, after experiencing it firsthand, the internship program has completely wiped away those fears, replacing them with a newfound confidence in my ability to adapt and overcome new writing situations. There were times where the whole thing felt totally overwhelming, and it seemed as though the world would come crashing down around me. But having overcome those feelings through self-motivation, determination, and teamwork, I can safely say that the internship program has helped me grow and excel as a writer. By providing a ton of new and interesting insights into the writing world, it has reinvigorated my passion in the subject I had previously felt fairly burned out about, and introduced me to a whole new array of future possibility. However, for now, I can only look forward to Spring 2019, when I continue the program and further expand my knowledge as a writer.