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Summer for a student journalist: Struggle Edition.

With four days left in the semester, there is one thing on everyone’s mind: summer.

But for that segment of the student population that call themselves journalism majors, something else gets in the way of summer-time thoughts: internships.

As a journalism student, the biggest asset to a resume, besides a degree, is internship experience. For those that aren’t aware, the internship battle field — and yes, I call it a battle field — is highly competitive. By competitive I mean thousands of journalism students with more than enough clips, reputable internships, stellar GPAs and a list of extracurricular activities are applying for the same two positions within the same one organization. This happens over and over and over again, until all the spots are filled.

In total, I’ve applied for 22 internships across the country. I started applying in December, which is surprisingly later than most deadlines (the deadline for a summer internship with the New York Times is Oct. 31). Here’s a partial list of what the organizations I applied to:

Trust me, the list goes on. After realizing that my chances of getting a paid internship were slim to none, I started applying for unpaid positions. These, however, are limited to where I already live. Without a paycheck, I can’t afford to pay rent in a city like New York. Fortunately for me, my home is now in San Francisco, so that’s not an awful Plan B.

I’ve applied to six internships in SF ranging from social media to editorial positions. I began following up on my applications this week (something we all should do more often), and I was simply told to wait.

That’s what it’s been like: a waiting game. I check my email about three times every ten minutes. My most recent searches involve the word “internship” in some way or another.

I’m a firm believer that if you try hard enough, you’ll achieve your dreams. Yes — It’s sappy, corny and cliché, but it keeps me going. I decided to change my major to journalism four semesters ago. Since then, I’ve secured three internships.  I wasn’t chosen for those positions by chance. I’ve been putting my heart and soul (excuse the sappy clichés again, sorry) into this major since I chose it. 

“Keep trying. Keep at it. Don’t give up.”

That’s the general consensus between editors and professors alike. So, to other student journalists that share this boat with me, I leave you with one piece of advice:

Let’s listen to them.


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