Four years ago (2010) I went to my internship coordinator at Columbia College Chicago asking if she knew of any internships she thought I would be great at. She named off a few, but felt I would really fit with NBC Chicago, so she reached out to her friend. I’m going to call him, “Bob” for the sake of privacy.
Anyway. NBC Chicago. That’s a big deal – And I was able to land the position with well, I don’t want to say “no effort” because I work my ass off – but let’s be honest, I was lucky to have someone credible reach out to the contact and making the process so much easier for me.
I remember getting to the building and being so incredibly nervous. I was sitting in their lobby, admiring the facility. It was finally time to go in.
I walked inside, and as I was walking towards Bob’s desk, I saw my cover letter taking up his entire computer screen. I was still nervous.
The interview went well.
I got the internship.
The internship started with a lot of writing for the entertainment section. That was pretty awesome. This wasn’t an internship where I was just getting someone coffee. I was actually doing stuff.
After getting used to their format of writing for the articles, I started to do some photography at events. I remember the first time I had to pick up equipment, I thought I broke a piece of the camera because I couldn’t swap out the different lenses. It was NBC. These weren’t just basic cameras.
After I did photography, it turned into trying to do some stand-ups and covering events on-camera. The first time I did it for practice, it was one of the most nerve-wrecking things I’ve ever experienced. I had never tried to do anything for news on-site. It was usually in a newsroom at school. You’d think it was the same, but they were two entirely different things. I thought I would nail it, I was terrible.
Two months in, I was really starting to feel stressed out. I forgot to mention – while I had my internship at NBC, which was 3 times per week, I was taking 3 summer school classes [18 hours a week] and also working with GowhereHipHop.com – I spread myself way too thin.
I was feeling overwhelmed. I was stressed out and frustrated everyday that summer. I didn’t want to do it, but I needed to eliminate one of the three. Obviously it couldn’t be school – so it was between NBC and GowhereHipHop.com (GWHH). I’m assuming based off the title of this blog, you know what my choice was, saying goodbye to NBC.
Why did I choose GWHH over NBC? Because GWHH had a more flexible schedule, it was closer to my apartment and more in line with what I wanted to do in the future. Did the fear of making mistakes and not being good at the tasks the internship required play a factor into that decision? Absolutely. I used to hate to admit my failures, but had I not failed, I would have maybe taken up a career path in something I didn’t belong in – and would have messed it up at some point eventually.
I stopped my internship 3 weeks early, and it still bothers me up until this day. Bob understood, but I could not forgive myself. I thought I was burning an awesome professional relationship, and felt like a failure for not being able to complete this internship because I was taking on way too much. Thankfully, he understood and everything happens for a reason. I now know to not spread myself too thin, no matter how big the opportunity is.
There’s two lessons I want you to take away from this blog:
1. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to pick between two opportunities, but it’s absolutely not possible to manage on top of your school and personal life without driving you crazy – don’t do it. It’s not worth it. I promise. Instead, just post-pone the second opportunity and do it later when you can give your 110 percent.
2. Don’t just work for a company because of how big it is. Work for a company that is in line with what you really want to do. If I chose NBC over GWHH, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would probably have a job with a news network, which is still a great thing, but it’s not who I am or what I wanted to do. Stick to your passions.
Check out some of the work I did for them here.
[SEE ALSO: 17 Jobs You’ll Never Guess I Had]