Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First Day: The Tale of a Survivor

First days are truly a creation all their own. 

Despite the considerable amount of time you've spent rationalizing away any and all fears (and entreating friends, family members and the guy who works at Starbucks to do the same), somehow, when you get to those revolving doors on day numero uno, your heart is still pounding. You go to the security desk before heading to the elevators with the makeshift guest-pass that will serve you well until your official ID is securely in hand (the ID that, in the future, you will nonchalantly swipe as you stroll in at 8:59 while nodding to the security guard on your way up). But until that day of calm, unruffled cool, when you know names and passwords and don’t get lost trying to find your cubicle, it’s day one, with all the well-deserved connotations that go with. 

The good news: We did it! Every single one of us has successfully braved day one and survived. If we did not feel cool, we did our best to pretend. If we did not pretend well, we can try again tomorrow. Now, as I sit here and reflect on the first day of an internship I applied for all the way back in November, I feel exceptionally excited for the next few months.   

At the 9:30 a.m. editorial meeting, I was there, pen and paper assiduously in hand. Maggie Murphy, Parade’s Editor in Chief, introduced me to the crew. My introduction was met with friendly handshakes all-round and a sprinkling of excited (and slightly ominous) exclamations: “Ooo—finally—the intern!” But, better busy than not — an all-too-true intern aphorism, appreciated by those who have mind-numbingly alphabetized archives at some point in their intern careers. 

That was not going to be the case this time. After many more names and handshakes, I hit the ground running with a research project for an upcoming issue themed around the Civil War. Next, I learned how to search through Parade archives stretching back decades so I could effectively field reader requests. I figured out how to use Adobe InCopy, which means I can print out the book (Devil Wears Prada shout-out) for the higher-ups. “We don’t actually go in to the office; we just lay it on his desk,” said the editor who showed me where to leave the fresh print-out (never before seen by outside eyes).

My first day leaves me with a post-it full of tasks for tomorrow, several new names and faces under my belt, a steadfast familiarity with the locations of the kitchen, bathroom and nearest Starbucks, and a feeling of anticipation for day two. The nerves have been evicted. What the guy in Starbucks kept telling me (“You can do it – seriously”) is true: I can do it. We all can. We're smart, experienced, well-equipped and eager. So, cheers to a first day successfully commandeered. Here’s to an incredible summer.

Cartoons originally published in The New Yorker

By: Hannah Dreyfus, Yeshiva University, Parade
Edited by: Allison Pohle, University of Missouri-Columbia, Ladies' Home Journal

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