And that’s a wrap: Internship week one

This has been quite the week to say the least. Classes, starting internships, a birthday and that’s not even the half of it.

Internship

I started my internship at RNS this week. Our office is located in the National Press Building. We share an office suite with the University of Missouri’s J-school D.C. program, the Committee for Concerned Journalists and several others. I work most closely with our national correspondent, Lauren and our editor, Kevin (although Kevin has been working from home).

On Tuesday, I got an awesome assignment: write a profile on the Christian rapper, Lecrae. I’ve contacted his press office to request an interview, but I’m still waiting to hear back.

On day two, I went to a press conference at the National Press Club (conveniently located on the top floor of my building). After the press conference, I had a tight deadline, so I pulled my story together as quickly as I could. By 6:00 that evening, I had my first byline on the Religion News Service Blog. I was thrilled! Here’s the link to the story. By Friday, It was posted on the Huffington Post AND the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog.

Thursday, I was given a press release and wrote a story based on it. Here’s the story on the RNS website. It has also been included in the Huffington Post on the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog and The Salt Lake City Tribune.

So, it’s been an exciting week. Tuesday, I’ll be going to the Capitol building to get my Capitol HIll Press Pass so that I can go to a senate hearing later nest week.

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Keely’s birthday

Tuesday was Keely’s 21st birthday. Since we are all “under covenant” and can’t drink while we’re enrolled in WJC and ASP, we did our best to make it as special as possible without any of the usual 21st birthday antics.

We started it off with dinner at Yo! Sushi in Union Station. It was so fun! Lots of bright colors and it was very Tokyo-ish (well, like all the pictures I’ve seen of Tokyo). The coolest part was that the chefs made all the food, then you could grab it off the conveyer belt that went all the way around the restaurant.

After dinner, Keely and I went to Bible study in the Dellanback and then the festivities continued with Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, alcohol free wine (yes, they do make it) and an ice cream cake. We had tons of fun… I haven’t laughed that hard since I got here!

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Eastern Market

For the last two weekends, I’ve had a chance to go to Eastern Market, the farmers market close to my apartment. This week, I got mozzarella cheese, a sweet potato, some green beans, peaches and a cucumber. I even got some basil for free! There’s so much good, fresh food! I love it. The ironic thing to me is how far the farmers have to travel to get to the market. “Local” produce just isn’t that local around here (but it still tastes fantastic).

H Street Festival

After we went to Eastern Market, Keely and I went to the H Street Festival. Thousands of people gathered for plenty of good food and entertainment. Let me tell you… I thought Raleigh had tons of food trucks… It’s got nothin’ on D.C.’s food truck scene! It was loud, it was crowded and it was fun!

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Tomorrow looks like church and homework, but this week has been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

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Here I go!

Well, it’s finally here! I start my internship with Religion News Service tomorrow! I will admit, I am both excited and nervous.

Yesterday afternoon, Sydney (a fellow WJCer) and I met with our mentor, Annalisa. Annalisa is a WJC alum from past semester. Since graduating from Gardner-Webb in May, she has taken a job and moved back to the D.C. area.

During our time together, Annalisa shared with us what she experienced last semester. She talked about the good things and and the hard things that we would face and shared with us from her experiences last semester.

Our talk with Annalisa combined with Friday’s internship oriented class and pizza talkback session with WJC alums have stressed me out. I’m definitely starting to feel overwhelmed… well, it’s more like I’m feeling overwhelmed because I know I’m going to be overwhelmed in the near future (if that makes any sense whatsoever).

This feeling has led to many nagging questions and feelings of unworthiness in my mind… Why am I even here? I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m going to fall on my face this semester (metaphorically AND literally–have you tried to walk on D.C.’s brick sidewalks in heels?). I’m not prepared for this. I’ve never written a real news story before. What if I get two weeks into my internship and realize I hate it? I’m a slow writer, what if I can’t keep up?

Annalisa had the same internship last semester that I have now. She’s told me that my editors are fantastic. They’re really good at teaching and guiding interns through the ins and outs of journalism.

Another thing that Annalisa talked to Sydney and me about was how even though she went through the program last semester and really enjoyed herself, she really didn’t think that she had been called to be a journalist. Her current job actually involves very little writing. She reminded us that we’re constantly learning, growing and developing and that it’s okay if we don’t know what we want to do now or when we finish WJC or even when we graduate from college.

Annalisa’s transparency on that subject meant a lot to me. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes I don’t even know why I’m here. I’m not a journalist, nor had I ever planned to be. I enjoy writing and maybe I do have a future in journalism, but the thing is that I just don’t know yet. All I do know is that this semester is about discovery.

So, to help me stay focused during this semester, I’ve come up with a list of goals for myself. They may seem silly and I’m sure my list of goals will change over time, but this is what I have for now.

  • Have at least one story published in a major newspaper (Washington Post, New York Times, etc.)
  • Meet/talk to someone really famous.
  • Learn a lot.

We’ll see how all this goes as the semester progresses. I’ll do my best to get a quick update up about my first few days at RNS sometime this week.Image

What I’ve learned so far

Since I arrived in D.C., the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities staff had been preparing us to live and work as young Christian professionals in the city. We have been from Anacostia to Alexandria to Capitol Hill on a scavenger hunt to help us get acquainted with public transportation in the city. Abigail, Rose and James have imparted wisdom to us regarding city living, including grocery shopping, churches and safety. WJC and ASP program directors, Terry Mattingly and Peter Baker, have lectured on subjects such as journalism, professional calling and different views of Christianity.

The thing that has stuck out the most to me in the two weeks we’ve been here, however, hasn’t been how to figure out which bus to take to get where or how not to get mugged, but it has been our readings and talks about being a Christian in the “real world.”

Many times, young Christians (particularly graduates from Christian colleges) feel pressure to pursue “Christian” vocations. If one feels called to a secular vocation, then the solution is to Christianize it. That’s why we have our Christian newspapers, Christian magazines, Christian music, Christian movies, Christian books… you get the point.

Now, I’m not saying that this Christian-niche is necessarily bad. I definitely believe that there is a place for all of our Christian materials. However, what if some of those editors or musicians or writers would work to become the best of the best in the mainstream? What if rather than creating Jesus-saturated media that only appeals to those who already know Him, they created wholesome, excellent and balanced materials that appeal to (and therefore reach) a larger (and often unsaved) audience? What if…?

It all boils down to how you live your life. I believe it’s just as possible for someone to live a life pleasing to God as a journalist for World as it is or as a stay at home with your kids or as a reporter for the New York Times.

Last Tuesday, I went to Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s intern Bible Study. We talked about I Peter 1:1-2 and everything worked right with what we had been talking about in class!

What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects — with their Christianity latent.   ~C.S. Lewis

Now… here’s the catch… figuring out my calling in life… 😉