If you’ve partly kept up with my life on here, you’ll know that I am a 20 year old student who has one year of University left… Meaning that it’s probably time to start getting my life together and figuring out what I want (Let me know if you want a separate post on that process in general). Therefore, you’ll probably see a lot more career related posts on here in the next year, as I struggle through that terrifying transition from studenthood to adulthood. Kicking these posts off happens to be a list of 10 things I learnt from my two weeks at the Guardian.
Background: How, what and why?
I’m doing a whole Youtube video talking you through how the week went, how I ended up there in the first place, tips and tricks etc. (So subscribe here so you see it when it’s out) But, for the purpose of providing context, I will give a quick rundown below:
The Guardian is a large British daily Newspaper that (obviously) stretches to online and social media. I applied for their summer internship scheme back in February (It was a pretty detailed application process, but more on that in the video) and heard back in May that I was one of the 20 out of 300 applicants to make it to the group interview stage.
After a strenuous group interview in which everybody in the room seemed 10 times smarter and more aware of current events than me, I had accepted that I’d done all I could and if I didn’t get it that was fine. However, amidst all my exam revision, I got an email saying that I was one of the 10 they chose, and had secured a chance to work at the Guardian for 2 weeks over the summer. I spent my time there on 5 different desks, spending 2 days in each, and get to choose one to come back to for a whole week at some point in the next year.
10 things I learnt…
1) Work days are more exhausting than they look
I only have around 8 contact hours a week when I’m at uni, so tend to blame my constant tiredness on the fact that I balance that with so many other side projects. However, I planned to dedicate my two weeks of work just to work, with nothing else going on on the side, hoping that I’d finally be a little more relaxed… I was wrong. Work days, regardless of how fun they may be, are incredibly draining, and the first thing I wanted to do everyday when I got in was sleep (Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do this once). How am I ever going to be a real adult?
2) Regardless of how often I write, I’m still full of doubt
I’ve been writing on this blog for just over 1 and a half years, been writing novels since I was 8, and have been working on my student paper for a year. I even had to submit a piece of writing for the application program for this scheme; I got chosen for a reason, and yet I’m still not confident in my ability to write. Everytime I pitched a piece or got told to write something that was actually going to be featured in the Guardian, I had genuine doubt that I was good enough. Am I ever going to believe that I’m a somewhat “good” writer? I mean, there’s always room for improvement, but I’m hoping that I’ll soon believe in myself.
3) Coffee is a lifesaver and caffeine does more than you think.
I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but when you’ve got a straight two weeks of early starts and late nights (Due to some personal things going on) coffee is your best friend. Scared of falling asleep at your desk, despite the fact that your work is actually interesting? Get yourself a coffee. Want to make a good impression by being all bright eyed and alert? Coffee. I’m going to get into making cappacinos during Uni, honestly, that stuff was a lifesaver.
4) I am more resilient than I thought
Two days into my internship, I came home to some pretty bad family news. Everything was (somewhat) okay, but it meant that the next few days of work involved coming home to help out more than usual, and a looooot of emotional head stuff. Part of me wanted to email and tell them I couldn’t continue/I’d have to reschedule – I clearly wasn’t being myself and it was a good enough reason for me to stop working. However, after quite a few peptalks from my parents, and a reminder that I am stronger than I think, I made it through the two weeks in spite of everything. I knew that I was resilient, but it was interesting seeing how far that stretches.
5) It’s better to explain what’s wrong than to keep it bottled up
Following up on the last post, I eventually emailed my mentor to tell him what was going on with me, and honestly, it was such a weight off of my shoulders. I suddenly felt like I wasn’t under this massive pressure to be perfect and smiley, and I no longer felt like I was letting people down. Even when we think noone will care about our problems, it’s better to let them out into the open because people are more understanding than you think.
6) I’m still anxious in social situations
I have amazing friends at home and at Uni, and since starting my blog I’ve been pretty good at emailing brands, meeting bloggers at events, so sometimes I forget that I am, in fact, a painfully awkward person. I used to be incredibly anxious when it came to meeting new people in any sort of situation; it used to genuinely terrify me. So, when I was walking into work everyday and felt that oh so familiar bubbling in the pit of my stomach, I was reminded that a part of me will always be that person. However, the difference is that now, I am able to get past that feeling and rise above it. That’s a massive step for me, and it’s weird noticing how far you’ve come.
7) I like to be busy
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I moved to a different desk every 2 days, each bringing their own program of tasks for me to do. I found that the desks I liked the most were the ones that always had work for me to do, because, even though it’s been killing me recently, I really like to be busy. I have a feeling that part of that derives from my constant need to help people and feel useful.
8) London rush hour is the worst and WHY DOES EVERYBODY WALK SO SLOW AND NOT KNOW HOW TO MOVE DOWN TO ALLOW MORE PEOPLE TO FIT ON THE TRAIN COME ON COOPERATE HERE.
And I thought slow walkers made me angry before…
9) I still don’t quite know what “smart casual” means
I thought after the two weeks I’d have some idea of what the infamous phrase means, yet here I am, still back at sqare one. Honestly, considering I had little to no money to buy a new wardrobe, I just attempted to throw together things that I had and hoped for the best.
10) Journalism is cool
I knew this before (Or at least, imagined it to be in my head), but this only confirmed my suspicions. This made me want to go into journalism more than before, and I can’t wait to keep working towards it.
And there you have it, 10 things I learnt while interning at the Guardian! I’ll be talking about and breaking down the whole week in a video over on my Youtube channel, so make sure that you’re subscribed to hear more about that.
Lots of love,