"Fantasy and reality often overlap." — Walt Disney
There are two cases as a teenager that are most always certain: 1. You need a job and 2. You (rarely) get a job that actually appeals to your real career goals.
I include rarely in there because there are some cases when you can get hired within a field you're interested in. I, for example, happen to fall into that rare case. Every career I've had falls into a communications field, which is the area I plan to study.
Now, how does a high school student end up working in an area that they aspire to establish a career in? One word: internships.
Internships are vital during our high school and early college years because they give us a chance to experiment with our career goal; thus, giving us the idea if we really like it or not. Being fortunate enough to have partaken in internships, I've discovered what I like and dislike about media and journalism.
However, I want to focus more in the pros rather than cons and tell you a little bit about my past week.
This summer I was lucky enough to intern with Kirk Whisler at Latino Print Network. Mr. Whisler is a highly respected man within the print and media industry, having founded the National Association of Hispanic Publications, the L.A. International Film Festival and working on boards for the National Latino Media Council and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Needless to say, I had found myself the ultimate connection within my desired field.
My internship extended into the school year where I spent the last weekend at the National Association of Hispanic Publications annual convention in Anaheim. I got to hand out the Jose Mart' awards to editors and journalists from across the nation. While a huge perk of being an intern was staying at a Disney hotel and getting free tickets to the park, that wasn't the most memorable part of my time spent there.
I got to meet many editors and journalists who were excited to have a youth that was passionate about what she wanted to do. I saw many new faces and some familiar ones from the San Diego U-T (where I have also interned). I got to sit down and have meals with ad sales marketers, lawyers, writers, and founding publishers. I got to attend two films screenings; one of which was for a new film written by Josefina Lopez, the writer of America Ferrera's breakout role in Real Women Have Curves, and ask questions to her and the cast about their film. I got to have Josefina Lopez herself invite me to her screenwriting workshop and tell me I have potential. I got to be the only high school student at a conference full of successful adults and I got to learn what it takes to be successful with a pen and notepad.
Internships can not only help you discover if that job is right for you, but also help you create valuable connections. And while most internships are non-paid ones, the experience you earn is much more valuable than any paycheck could ever be.
And that's where Walt Disney ties in. Fantasy is our dream job and all the exciting adventures that come with it. Reality is what is offered and what we can take because it is given to us. The overlap is internships, when our greatest desires meet available sources and we learn not from books, but from experience.
Try for an internship, Jags. You never know whom you might meet along the way.