Saturday, June 30, 2012

Babies "R" (Not) Us


The majority of the ASME interns I've spoken with have gushed about how overly ecstatic they were when they initially received their magazine assignment. They skipped around their rooms, told (facebooked) all of their closest friends, and screamed gaieties from the rooftops. ...More or less.

I, however, was terrified. When I saw that I would be interning at Parents, my heart did weird flippy things that were most likely medically alarming. It wasn't that I didn't want to be at Parents, it was that I didn't want Parents to regret choosing me.

You see, I'm not, as some people would consider, a baby connoisseur. My ovaries don't explode when I see little children frolicking on the street, my biological clock has been set to snooze until 2020 or beyond, and I'm simply not an avid fan of poop. So why pick Parents? Because I knew from the beginning of the ASME process that it would be an amazing internship. Not only is Chandra Turner the Executive Editor of Parents and the founder of Ed2010, she's also the icon of my magazine industry idolatry (in a non stalker-ish way, of course). (Kinda.) I knew any experience that put me within 50 feet of her would be absolutely amazing, but I worried that working in a magazine so far removed from my demographic would dropkick me out of my comfort zone of silly witticisms and Seventeen-esque cliches. And I like my comfort zone. It's warm and smells nice.

I began to realize, however, that I was never going to grow as a writer if I continued to hide inside my niche for the rest of my life. Plus, I wanted to see what all this offspring-hype was about. So Parents became my prospective growin' grounds, and I awaited the chance to stretch my little wings and fly. Then reality hit when I was actually assigned to Parents, and my heart palpitations reminded me that I still didn't know the first thing about kids except they need to be fed and watered. Like bitey plants. How was I going to write in the voice of a rockstar mom? Where was I going to find inspiration for pitches? What if Parents hated me so much that I became known as "oh, that ASME intern" and Chandra blacklisted me from the magazine world?

These rampant, irrational fears ran through my mind until several sweet people (thank you, Zach, Sam, Allison, Vanessa, half of Iowa City, Grandma...) nicely told me to stop being an anxious idiot and to simply do my thing until everything worked out. So I ignored them. And then, what do you know? It began working out. (Cue photo montage of my struggle to triumph). Slowly, I got the voice of the magazine. I began finding inspiration and story ideas. I wrote blurbs, got sent to press events -- I even talked to a child. I still feel out of my comfort zone, but my fears have faded. And those same sweet people who yelled at me? They now tell me to stop gushing so frequently about my love of Parents. So, of course, I ignore them.

 -Chloe Metzger, University of Iowa, Parents

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