Internships: My Experience, So Far

Hello People! Did you miss me? No? Well, I definitely missed you. Anyway, I’ve got some really good news!

I’ve recently been accepted to 5 total internships: 3 Journalism, 1 copy-editing, and 1 in Chemistry. As you know, just getting a degree in college is almost pointless without gaining job experience. Internships are basically entry- level jobs. So to, I went. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Being that I’m a Journalism major(as well as Chemistry but that’s another post) most of the ones that I applied for are able to be done virtually. Gotta love the internet. Here’s the breakdown on three of the journalism ones:

Okay, Jyrno is the first internship that I got accepted to. Although, I applied for it through, had I come across it in a search engine, I could’ve just applied directly to the site. They seem to have an open registration system. It’s basically a platform where young journalism students can post stories of their choosing and build their resume. For people who haven’t had any prior experience, it’s a great place to showcase your skills, writing style, and gain exposure.

It’s been about a month, and I like it so far. The interface is user- friendly and easy to navigate. Posting articles on Jyrno is just as easy as posting on WordPress. The founder usually gives out the topics for assignment each morning, but we can choose the actual story ourselves. Some days, the choice is entirely ours. After we submit articles, they usually take 48 hours to become live on the site. However, I recently had a story take a full seven days to post. From what I understand, the site is in the process of transferring to a sleeker site.

The only downside, is that it is unpaid. Now I have no problem with “paying dues” , as four out of five internships I’ve taken are unpaid. Experience is everything. I get it. But when I signed up, it was listed as paid, when it’s actually unpaid. I didn’t care too much for that, but I think the benefits of it outweigh that detail.

I’ve posted a few articles on there, and I’m feeling comfortable with the format. It took a couple of weeks. Also, editing is entirely up to the student. A couple of the first articles I posted contained a few typos that I missed. Initially, I thought that there was an editor on the staff that would catch those mistakes, but I don’t know if that’s the case. So if you sign up, comb over each line with a fine tooth comb. I’m getting better at that. One thing I’ve started doing is copy and pasting my drafts into Google Translate and have the computer read it aloud. Since I’ve started doing that, I’ve had almost not issues with mistakes. It’s easy to catch typos when its being read aloud.

If you would like to check out what I’ve published so far, click here.
Rebel Lifestyle Magazine

Okay, I was accepted as a Health and Beauty Contributor, for Rebel Lifestyle Mag. They are a fairly new magazine whose demographic is largely female. I think that it was actually founded this year. There’s both a website and printed edition. Their topics range from health and beauty, love, sex, fashion, and many others.

After I got accepted, I was given a test article. Apparently they liked it enough to offer me the position.

I’ve just gotten started on my first article, and I’m really pumped about this one. I like the fact that it is a small magazine building from the ground up and that I can be apart of that process.

Also, the founders seem to be really nice women.

The Style Vibe

Okay, this is yet another magazine that I’m interning for as the Lifestyle and Beauty contributor. I actually have an article due tonight. I can’t say much about it, cause I’m just getting started. There’s not too much to report on yet.

They have a really cool site, though.

I hoped this helped anyone thinking of applying for internships, or who weren’t sure if is worth your time. It definitely is!

Flash Fiction

No one really knew for sure what lain behind the iron doors. Rumor had it that it was where they sent people who failed to live up to societal standards. They were the people who were bad at their jobs or perhaps just couldn’t follow the rules. Maybe they changed professions without submitting the proper paperwork. Or, perhaps they conceived a child without permission from the powers that be.

But they were just rumors. The only people who really knew what occurred were the people sent back there and those that worked for the city.

What was known was that the yearly evaluations determined if someone would ever find out. No one wanted to find out. Especially me, Kadence Zarnecki.

When I entered the facility, the head of security, Sam, greeted me as he’d done the last four years. He was a rather tall guy with a large gut and skinny legs. His smile was warm and inviting. There were rarely any incidents in the waiting area. No one was foolish enough to cause a scene on Evaluation Day.

He didn’t have the clearance to work behind the iron doors. At least that’s what I was assuming. I’d only ever once seen a person who worked behind the scenes and it was in those ghastly pictures plastered all over the news. He was a middle aged white man whose skull was scattered across the pavement in a pool of his own blood. The media tried to cover it up calling it an accident, but who accidentally jumps out of a seventh story window? A friend whose mom worked for the city told me that he couldn’t handle the demands of working back there and committed suicide.

Everyone around me was dressed in a semi-formal business attire. There were Groups of people pacing in circles seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. They traveled in a pre-conceived orbit, always nearing a collision, but never quite making contact. Their eyes weren’t fixed on anything in particular – almost like they were in a daze.

A group of musicians in the corner were going over their arrangement. Law students were going over their cases, and athletes were stretching their muscles, preparing for their physical endurance exams.

But when the assistant to the Director of Merit entered the room, everyone stopped dead in their tracks. Her eyes were scathing and a look from her could pierce straight through your soul. As if second nature to us, we all formed a single file line.
We knew to jump in alphabetical order. Not only that, but there weren’t very many of us. Assessments were spread over an entire week covering each age group. I was in the 18-23 group. And since people hadn’t been having as many children as decades in the past, our group was pretty quaint.

There were a few faces who hadn’t been with us in previous years. Most likely, they were fresh High School Graduates. It was rare that we got new people in town.

This was my last year in the level 1 Assessments -or the kiddie pool as I’d like to call it.
Mrs. Andrews continued down the line checking our attire. With each person she checked off of the list, the antsier I became. I mean I thought I looked okay, but the previous year, I stumbled through my oral exam. Only because I aced my garment check and presentation,was I allowed to pass through unscathed. I was also a senior in college last year. This was my first year as an actual working adult.

“Garment checks were the easiest way of weeding out the bad seeds,” she’d say. Her motto was that if we couldn’t manage to dress ourselves properly, how we possibly be a contributing member of society. I thanked God once a year that my last name was Zarnecki because I was always last in line.

Being that I was an artist, I wanted my hair to reflect my ‘’whimsical side.” Whatever the hell that meant. It was encouraged that one aspect of our attire reflect our profession or interests that would improve our job performance. It was a fiery contrast against my dark brown roots. It was definitely one of the perks of my industry. They were more lenient with our wardrobe because they felt it boosted out productivity as artists.

But that stretch of that leniency was vague. One year it could mean being permitted a tattoo, or embellishments in our hair. Other years that same tattoo, could result in becoming acquainted with the iron doors. Not that I’d ever seen it myself. Anyone who ever sent back there was usually in the older categories. You know, the people who were expected to know better.

She continued down the line with a clipboard and a bag of red, green and yellow wrist bands in hand. Everyone who received a green band went straight into phase two, which were the Oral Exams. A good pair of pumps and an A-line skirt usually did the trick for females. Hair was expected to be pulled back from the face in either a low bun or free falling tucked behind the ears. Bangs were acceptable only if they ended at the top of the brow, and were blunt cut across. So there I stood with long flowing locks that could rival any sunset accented by a deep middle part.

She stopped on a girl whose stockings had a run in them. She started to speak, but paused for a moment and allowed her eyes to trail up and down the remainder of her ensemble. She was a wearing a white silk blouse and high wasted skirt that some could argue hugged her hips too snug. Her hair was jet-black and cut off at the shoulders into a layered bob. I was certain that her hair was cut too short according to the guidelines, but she was given a green bracelet.

“Phew, maybe they’re going easy this year.” I thought.

Just last year, I’d seen someone get a yellow bracelet for a shirt that was missing a button. It was rare that anyone who got a yellow bracelet was ever seen again. It wasn’t a guaranteed failure, but it made rounds two and three more difficult. They were given an extra set of questions unique to their field. Most people who received a yellow bracelet cracked under the pressure and failed the oral exam.

With each bracelet that had been given out, I started to calm down a bit. She’d passed over an engineering student whose tie was tied incorrectly for God’s sake. It was obvious that they were going easy this year. I got so comfortable that I was actually able to drift off into my own thoughts. It wasn’t until there was only one person left that I noticed it was my turn. Right before she approached me, I smoothed out my blouse and ran my hands through my hair to tame any flyaways.

When she turned her attention to me, her eyes widened as if I were a species she’d just discovered. Her eyes bounced from my hair, to her clipboard and from the clipboard to my hair. Careful not to speak unless spoken to, I tilted my head to the side, studying her face for an explanation.

She didn’t bother to get my name or review the rest of my ensemble before she stuck her hand in the band reaching for what I knew would be a yellow wrist band. Maybe I went too far with my hair. I would just have to do especially good on the oral exam.

Gasps of horror filled the room when she revealed a bright red wristband.
With no hesitation, she turned to the security guard at the door and yelled, “Exile!”
Sam looked at me with true despair in his eyes and pulled the alarm.

Haiku Haiku (National Poetry Month)

The Haiku originated in Japan over a thousand years ago. They are short poems that consist of only three lines. Traditionally, they follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule. Although it should be noted that some people use variations of this rule. There are some Haikus that use 4-6-4, or even 5-3-5.

Like most poetry, they can portray complex emotions in a limited amount of words. The most popular subject of the Haiku is nature. Though you can write about anything that you choose. Haikus do not have to rhyme, and usually don’t.

In honor of the month, I’ve decided to share a couple of the Haikus that I wrote:

Get Ready                                                  Make an Entrance

Fortune is to come                                    Spring creeps in Shadows

Let us not forget today                               Trees and flowers blossoming

Prepare for blessings                                 The frost says goodbye

Even In My Dreams (Nat’l Poetry Month)

As many of you may know, April is National Poetry Month. I don’t write many poems anymore, because I’ve become obsessed with writing longer works of fiction. Not to mention, the poems that I used to write were mostly free verse.  They didn’t follow any rhyme scheme or anything of that matter. I never took the time to try other types of formats.

But in the spirit of the month, I thought I’d post some of my poetry. Throughout the month I intend to play around with different types of poetry and post them on here. I’m slowing getting back in the habit of sharing my writing, so I thought it would be good to kick things off with a poem:

I look down at me feet

As you laugh at your feat

Shoulders slumped, eyes diverted

Alone among many, but no shield in sight

Peace is loss

For in times of rest, you’re still there, picking, probing, plucking

I cry out for mercy

It only fuels you

Enlarges the daunting flames you throw at me

The only refuge is within my dreams

Until blue skies fade and merge into a black abyss

 And I feel the raindrops fall

First, cool on my skin

A great relief

Then pouncing, muggy, sticky

Beads of sweat form on furrowed brows

A pulsating rhythm strumming against my chest

 a sudden emergence

Watching shadows creep across the wall.

I Had A Strange Dream

Once you wake up, memories of your dreams linger only for a moment. I can attest to this. Most dreams that I have don’t last very long and if I don’t write them down, I’ll forget. There are exceptions to this rule. I’ve had several dreams from my childhood that I can recall in very clear detail. I’m not sure why some stick around and some don’t. I guess it’s the same reason that we retain some memories while others are lost forever.

Anyway, I had a dream last night that freaked me out. It wasn’t necessarily a nightmare but was creepy nonetheless. I’ve been thinking about it all day. Strangely, the clarity of the events hasn’t waned at all since I woke up. So I thought I’d share it.

It started on the campus of the (first) middle school I attended. I was standing on the outside of the gates about to enter. There was a narrow entrance that lead to a large court yard. From the street, the courtyard’s view is blocked by brick walls unless you’re standing at the gate. But as in dreams, everything was distorted and I could see the courtyard although the brick wall was there. Instead of my back facing the street where pickup occurs, there seemed to be a whole other part of the school there because there were buildings behind me..

There was a great threat lingering in the air. I just know that we had to get out of there. And by we I mean myself and a hoard of people I didn’t recognize. Everyone was waiting for the bus, pacing frantically, and on their phones.

Suddenly a large black van was charging towards us. I have no idea who was in the van, but was deathly afraid. I knew that these were the people out to get us. A moment later a yellow school bus was speeding towards us from the opposite direction. Everyone immediately started running for the bus as the van gained on us. I don’t remember who was driving or even actually boarding the bus but in an instant I was on and we pulled off. We were flying. On a school bus. I was sitting in the the exact seat that I hogged back in the seventh grade – the second to last seat on the right. I had a clear view of all of the other passengers.

From what I overheard, some covert agency had sent those van guys to get rid of us. Not exactly an ideal situation, but I’ve experienced worse in dreams. Then things started to get a little creepy for my taste. A girl seated directly in front of me was talking about how she was glad that she had taken pictures of the pages of some book she was reading for when they confiscate the books. I remember thinking that people are trying to kill us, and she’s sitting there worried about a book. Before I could verbalize my disbelief, I was no longer looking at the back of the girl’s head, but her skeleton. She turned in to a skeleton. Just poof. Dead.

I was horrified so I started screaming.  But I was the only one reacting to her. In fact, they weren’t even reacting to me freaking out. My eyes scanned the bus and they were sitting completely motionless looking straight ahead as if they were in a trance. I leaned over in my seat and tried to nudge the guy sitting across from me in the arm, but he didn’t even flinch. I didn’t want to be the only person alive/conscious when we met our doom so, I was literally losing it at that point.

Then my mom appeared in the dream a few seats up talking about egg noodles , chicken broth, and spinach  on the phone.  She was so loud and boisterous  that I think I realized  I was dreaming and I woke up. Turns out she was actually on the phone with my aunt telling her what she was going to make for dinner tonight.  (She’s on a diet.)

I’m usually annoyed when she wakes me up , but I didn’t complain this time. I was so happy that it was a dream and that it was over.

Thanks mom.

Using A Pen Name and Confidence

I’ve gone back and forth over the last couple of months whether to use a pen name or not. I guess I could say  that I’m not completely confident in my writing.
I actually have another blog where I write under a pseudonym. I think the anonymity gives me a freedom that I otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s on that blog, that I post things I would never have the guts to post on here. They’re stories that contain darker themes, or are just extremely personal to me. I’ve gotten some positive feedback, and that makes me feel good. But when I do, I sort of wish I had written it under my own name. It’s gratifying to know that someone likes something that I created.
It’s that source of freedom that allows me to be most creative, because I’m not worrying about whether my mother will come across it and cringe at scenarios that my mind created. I don’t have to worry if someone I know in real life will see it. It’s safe.
It wasn’t until being on WordPress a couple of months, that I realized how insecure I am with my writing. I don’t necessarily mean my ability to write, because I’m completely winging this whole thing. I’m literally learning as I go.   I mean that I would promise to update, and then get discouraged halfway through because I knew I wasn’t being true to myself. So I just never did.
I write for myself, but I would be lying if I said that positive reviews didn’t make me giddy inside. The same goes for not so good reviews. Reviews allow you to get a feel of what is and isn’t working. I love them all.
I’m trying to find a balance of how much I’m willing to share. For now,using a pen name adds a sense of protection.