Ask anyone I know what I want to do with my life and they’d say, “Write.”
They’d be correct, but frankly there’s more to it.
My junior year at High Point University brought me so many opportunities, but most importantly, it opened me to feature writing. I had never considered feature writing as a career. After my first semester, I knew what I was destined to do—and I would do anything to achieve it.
Fast forward to that next spring semester after I came into contact with Jeff Sykes. He was the Editor of YES! Weekly, an alternative publication located in Greensboro, NC, that reported all news in the Triad area. I remember wondering if I truly had the writing chops to stand out in such a competitive field.
Ask those same people how often I doubted myself and they’d say, “Not often.”
So I found myself out of my comfort zone. A close mentor of mine warned me before beginning as an intern, “It will be baptism by fire.” And so it was, but I kept reminding myself that nothing in life worth having comes easy.
YES! Weekly Internship
As an intern my job was to write feature stories. These were longer pieces that focused in great detail on interesting people. I was even able to brainstorm my own story ideas with Jeff. He was easy-going, but enforced deadlines and required quick turn-around, allowing me to immerse myself in the pressured atmosphere of the field. From community leaders trying to keep their city safe, to minority-outreach programs, to a couple who found their love and passion in activism, my time at YES! Weekly had me running all over Greensboro. I loved every second, and mile, of it.
What I loved most about my time at the publication was the real-world experience I received. I was expected to contact sources, set up in-person and over-the-phone interviews, fact-check after interviews, attend community events, and write full-length stories capturing newsworthy information. All the while, the words I chose had to be full of emotion—like a story, not just a news article. As I learned quickly, one month wasn’t a very long time for an internship, but it was all I had. So, I made sure to cherish each interview, each late-night writing session, and especially each piece of advice Jeff gave me. Be it grammar tweaks, AP Style lessons, words of encouragement, or tips on being a professional in the field, Jeff was a helping hand when I needed it most.
My time with YES! Weekly taught me about personal integrity, determination, and most of all, my resilience. As a journalist, it was so important that I kept my ethics at the forefront of my writing. We report the truth. As an intern, I was faced with many challenges while under pressure, so it was important to focus on the big picture: an experience of a lifetime. Of course, it was pertinent that giving up was out of the question. No matter how much pressure weighed itself on my shoulders, I couldn’t let myself be swayed. There were many times when I felt overwhelmed, stressed, and just plain not good enough. But fighting through those tough times was what combated those insecurities and strengthened my emotional intelligence. That was the life lesson I needed the most. A reality check . . . in the best, most constructive way.
This internship fortified my passion for writing. It provided me with the chance to explore a very specific, but very handy, kind of writing in which I excel. Now, when I graduate at the end of this semester, I will be able to walk into an interview with confidence. I won’t question my worth because YES! Weekly helped me realize that believing in yourself, in your writing, is so vital.
Sigma Tau Delta, in helping me fund this experience through the Summer Internship Stipend, gave me the opportunity to delve into a passion I never knew I had. Not having to worry about saving money for groceries or gas helped me focus more on my internship. I was so excited that Sigma Tau Delta appreciates young, passionate English majors so much that they support them in their endeavors—no matter how big or small. Thanks to the Society, I have a clear path for success in my future, and thanks to YES! Weekly, I now have the tools to put pursue my dream career.
Sigma Tau Delta Summer Internship Stipend
Sigma Tau Delta offers funding for current undergraduate and graduate student members accepting non- or low-paying summer internships. The Summer Internship Stipend is a competitive program providing a limited number of stipends of up to $1,500 each.
The internship must involve working for an “organization” while being directed by a supervisor/mentor within that organization, and the internship’s duties must be consistent with the applicant’s level of education, area of study, and career goals. Financial need will be taken into consideration in addition to internship length. Applicants are responsible for obtaining and providing verification of the internship. Please review the application guidelines for additional information.
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