I started looking for an internship at the end of the fall semester in 2008. Lesson # 1: this was almost too late. I missed out on the incredibly prestigious Washington Post summer internship because they have a November/December deadline. But the majority of internships I liked had deadlines around February/March, which gave me plenty of time to get my application together.
I picked four internships: USA Today, Washingtonian Magazine, Wolf Trap and The Connection, a local newspaper. Washingtonian, I found out, canceled their photography internship. USA Today didn’t want to set up an interview until AFTER I had accepted my current internship. The Connection didn’t want me to APPLY until April, which would be a little too late for my comfort since I needed this class to graduate by Summer 2009. So that left Wolf Trap.
Let me say, I will never place all my bets on one job again. It was nerve-wracking, but there was really nothing I could do. Photography internships are few and far between, unfortunately. I could have applied for journalism internships, but I really wanted to pursue what made me happy, not what I “should” do. Not that I don’t love journalism. But after the past semester, I needed a break from writing.
Wolf Trap, however, would have been my top pick anyway. Its job description included photographing theater and musical acts, which is what I enjoy the most. Plus, I used to go to Wolf Trap when I was a little kid, and I go about once a year, since they generally book artists I enjoy (Ben Folds! Patty Griffin!).
After several nail-biting months, I got the call telling me they wanted to set up a phone interview. Yipes! Phone interviews are rough because face-to-face contact is always preferable. But it went pretty well, I suppose, since about two weeks later, they offered me the job. One small step for mankind, one giant step for me!
So lesson learned- plan early, earlier than you might think. But even when you think this are a mess (pinning my summer graduation on just one internship was NOT exciting), things always seem to work out.