Friday, June 20, 2014

A Fashionable Education

When I found out I was offered an internship with InStyle for the summer, I cried. 

I've been a fan of the magazine for as long as I can remember, and the idea of spending my summer surrounded by the editors who make that monthly magic happen actually–and embarrassingly–brought me to tears.  

In my hazy and sputtery excitement, the first thing I wanted to do was tell everyone I know.

"That'll be a good addition to your resume," a friend said.

"That's my favorite magazine–will you get to meet famous people?" asked another.

And my personal favorite: "Will it be like The Devil Wears Prada?"

After a few weeks of working as an intern, I can answer the second question with a maybe and the last with a strong no, but some of the other comments have weighed on my mind.




I came to New York City for the summer after spending May in Japan on an academic journalism trip, and coming back to the U.S. was a much smoother transition than I had anticipated. 

Heading to New York would be like diving into the next adventure. And coming here for ASME and InStyle made it that much better. 

My internship at InStyle has been a whirlwind, but even though it's only been a few weeks, I've already learned a lot:

I've learned to look at magazines not as a random compilation of articles and layouts but as a package–everything can speak on its own but still plays a part in an overarching message; 

I've learned to avoid Times Square on weekends;

and I've learned that the Broadway lottery system is the greatest invention since Broadway itself. 

While these New York lessons have been worthwhile, I think I've learned the most from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of work. 

One of the projects I've been given has required me to comb through the past three years of InStyle issues, and it's been one of my favorite tasks. Taking the time to reflect on the magazine has shown me a lot about what it means to be an InStyle reader, and how that reader has evolved over time. 

It's easy to see the impact of that evolution. It's clear how important the work is when you see how many people integrate it into their lives every day–from the appreciative comments people leave on InStyle.com, to the travel companion photos that jet-setting readers send in of themselves reading InStyle in everywhere from Prague to Costa Rica 

It's easy to care a lot when you're contributing to something impactful, even if you only contribute in small ways. Whether the job entails working in Photoshop with layouts for a binding project or picking up an iced coffee, seeing how people respond to InStyle makes it easy for me to smile every day. 

And that's a lot more than a name on a resume. 

--Written by Alexandra Whittaker, Marquette University, InStyle
Edited by Helen Zook, Northwestern University, Travel + Leisure

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