Kayla Green—This past fall, I made the decision to apply for internships in Washington D.C. for the upcoming summer.
I applied to over 20 internships after I was accepted, and had been anxiously checking my email for responses since January. There was one in particular that I wanted most, one that’s always been my #1 goal, the pinnacle of everything I’ve ever wanted as a journalism student: CNN. Still yet, I knew I had to apply to others as backups, especially given how competitive CNN is.
Finally, around mid-February, I got a response from CBS News. They said they wanted to have me complete the first step of the interview process, which was a video recorded interview and some multiple choice questions. I completed the interview that night, and felt good about it. A couple weeks later, I got a follow up email asking for a second interview, this time on the phone. I was very nervous, but I prepared like crazy and honestly felt like I killed it. I heard back a few days later that I wasn’t being chosen to move on to the next step. I was disappointed, but put my focus back into the other 15 internships I had yet to hear from.
A week after my CBS rejection, I got an email from my dream internship: CNN. As a background story, I met Brockport alum and CNN Washington Correspondent Ryan Nobles back at the Brockport Winter Gala in December. After talking, I told him I was planning on doing an internship in Washington, and he gave me his contact information. We kept in touch from the day after the Gala up until the moment I got that email. He had been putting in a good word for me with everyone he knew down there, and finally something had clicked.
I prepared for this interview more than I’ve ever prepared for something in my life. I wrote out possible questions and answers, rehearsed all of them out loud, and researched the company in and out.
When the morning of the interview came, I was all ready, waiting for the call. When the clock turned to 9:30, my phone rang with a call from D.C., at the exact same time the fire alarm went off in my dorm.
This was panic mode. I couldn’t believe that after all my preparation, something like this was about to ruin my moment. I ran out of the building, laptop in hand. I couldn’t answer the call, it would’ve been too loud, so I prayed she would call back. I tried calling back myself but got a generic answering service. Finally, after what seemed like centuries later but was really only 4 minutes, she called back. I explained the situation, and she laughed it off with me, making sure I was safe and saying it was “the most college thing she ever heard.” This really broke the ice for the interview, and even though I was freezing and pacing around outside with the entire student population of Bramley Hall standing a few feet away from me, I nailed the interview. I felt so prepared, and I knew that even something like a fire drill couldn’t have ruined this for me.
She told me she’d let me know in a few days, and those days were torture. Then, Friday morning, I was sitting with my friends and my phone went off. It was D.C. I answered excitedly, and it was CNN Newsource offering me the internship of my dreams. I accepted, and literally felt like, in that moment, everything I’d worked so hard for all these years was paying off. I’ve never been happier in my life than I was in that moment.
There are 2 morals to this story:
- Connections are so important! Network, network, network! Without the Ryan Nobles connection, it would’ve been harder to stand out from the 2,200 (yes, true number) applicants going for the same position as me. You never know when you’re going to need that professional connection.
- Dreams come true! It’s so ridiculously cliche, but please peg your hugest, wildest, most “unrealistic” dreams, and go for them. This internship was surely mine, and I’m still in absolute shock that in one short month, it will be coming true.
I truly can’t wait to be in D.C. this summer, among some of the most talented people in my field. Nothing compares to this feeling, and I have Brockport to thank for it.