Apply yourself through an internship


Rene Delgadillo , Web editor

A new semester at school has started, and let’s be honest, the first couple of days are pointless. 

Many of us don’t pay attention to what professors have to say about internships and ways of getting involved at school. I bet many students are just hoping for the first week to be over with; and for two years, I was one of those students.

That was my mentality as a freshman student, until one day I just realized I was not going to get anywhere with my laziness. If you’re a student, who comes to school and leaves back home as soon as your last class is over, you have a problem. My advice for you is either to drop out of college, or get your shit together and start applying yourself.

I understand there might be some unique obstacles in the path of many students that don’t allow them to get involved with their careers outside of a classroom, but the trick comes in how hard you are willing to work to achieve the future and life you want.

One of the best ways to start applying your knowledge to your career is through internships because you’ll learn what it actually takes to perform a job in the field you’ve chosen. Professors will teach you the basics of what your career requires and that’s it. I’m sure many of them will come up with motivational speeches, hoping you can feel confident about your skills, but they won’t help at all if you don’t start looking for an internship.

I just finished a summer internship at an award-winning newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This experience changed who I am, both at a personal and professional level. But I won’t lie, at first the internship wasn’t what I was expecting. I was not happy and felt I wasn’t being challenged in what I wanted to learn. I was getting social media assignments—something I didn’t want to do.

I needed to stop getting out of work and feeling I was doing something I didn’t like. So I bought a camera, a tripod and two microphones. I made an $800 investment hoping it could change the direction of my internship and it did. I showed up to work and showed my boss what I had bought, and he told he would give me two or three opportunities to go out and shoot some video.

I took those opportunities as if they were the biggest and most important tests of my life. Of course, my work was not perfect, but my boss saw my talent and willingness to learn. After those three videos, he changed my internship and all I had to worry about was shooting and editing video. Again, this is where how hard you are willing to work can make a difference. I had to sacrifice money I didn’t have to start doing exactly what I wanted.

In only a 12-week period, my boss was the most honest person I’ve ever met. He didn’t play games and just told me when he liked my work and when he didn’t. But he always had an explanation for the things he was telling me, and instead of taking his words and criticism in a personal way I got happy when he took time out of his schedule to help me. I wanted to learn and one of the best ways is by listening to people who have been doing the type of work you want to do longer than you’ve been alive.

My internship took me out of my comfort zone. I went to a city where whites and blacks are a majority, and where Hispanics represent less than 5 percent of the city’s population. It was a cultural shock for me because I had spent my entire life in a city where the majority of people speak Spanish and share similar beliefs.

For the first time in my life, I got to talk to with black people who have been victims of police brutality. One of them being Michael Brown Sr., who lost his son after a police officer shot and killed him. During the anniversary of his son’s death, I saw him screaming and crying to the sky, asking why he had lost his son. It was a moment that changed who I was.

For one of my videos, I had to talk with homeless people. So I sat down with a couple of them and started asking the why’s and how’s of being homeless. Every one of them had a different story, and they made me realize that every day we ignored them as if they weren’t people simply because they don’t have a home. They cried as they spoke to me, and on top of that, they would still tell me they would pray for me simply because I took the time to speak with them.

These are the kind of things that can happen when you have an internship far from where you live. An internship is not only a place to learn about the career you want to obtain; it’s also the perfect time to have fun and grow as a person. So, take the risk of getting rejected by nine companies, and then finally getting accepted by the 10th company.

My advice is to take the criticism, even if it makes you feel bad about your skills. Stop taking things in a personal manner because you won’t get better at what you to do and you will be closing future doors in your career. Doing good work in an internship can place important calls from your internship supervisors to the future job you want to obtain.

Get an internship away from El Paso, get to know yourself, learn about the obstacles that people of different cultures and skin colors are going through. Learn, speak and ask questions about things you don’t understand.

An internship is a perfect chance to learn, you will mess up and make big mistakes, your bosses will get mad at you, but this is how the real world is like. So don’t be afraid and just do the best you can.