Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Midwesterner Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple

Anna Hensel is midwest maiden looking to make her mark on the magazine industry in New York City. As a rising senior journalism major at Creighton University in Nebraska, Hensel was thrilled to accept her spot in the prestigious ASME program, but wasn’t so keen in calling the big city her new home.


“I had visited New York City only once before, in my junior year of high school and I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it either,” Hensel said. “I thought it was going to be this super cool cosmopolitan city and we were in Times Square and there were so many people and I was like ‘I don’t like this, it’s dirty, it’s crowded, it’s just not what I like.'”


Anna Hensel on her first day of work at Inc.
But something happened to change her mind this second time around.


“Before I got this internship I never pictured myself living in New York City. I honestly just didn't think it would ever happen for me. All of those movies are like, ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,’ so I was like, 'oh I’ll never get a chance to work there.' But now that I’m here, I’m like 'okay, maybe I really can do this after all.'”


Hensel said walking to the front of her new dorm apartment and seeing how homey it looked in comparison to some of the other parts of town was a pleasant surprise that helped aid her moving process.


“When I got to my dorm the first day and I saw it I was like: ‘Okay, there are like normal size buildings around. Okay, I can do this. This looks like a place where people can actually live.’”


It wasn’t until stepping inside that she reached her next speedbump.


“We found a cockroach in our apartment on the first day,” Hensel said. But after a little extermination and exploring her neighborhood, Hensel grew to enjoy her new habitat.


“I’ve actually really liked it, surprisingly,” she said. “I like the neighborhood and being able to walk to a lot of places. I don't really like how expensive it is, but it’s been pretty good so far.”


Hensel’s twin sister never doubted her success in the Big Apple.


“I think Anna has always liked living in bigger cities, with a lot of bigger topics to learn and write about,” Angela Hensel, Anna’s sister, said. “Part of this is surprising because we've grown up in the midwest, but it’s cool because we've travelled a lot more in college and we are realizing that there are other places in the world. It’s really surprising to learn that about yourself.”


While both sisters said it has been tough living so far apart, they noted that it’s nothing they haven’t done before. For one semester, Anna studied abroad in Denmark while Angela lived in New Zealand. Angela is also a journalism major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, so they have “kind of learned to thrive” on their own.


Anna said the ASME program is another resource that has helped her make the best of this new environment.


“I love the ASME program so far,” she said. “I don’t know why every journalism student doesn’t apply for this program. Like Sid [Chief Executive of ASME] said on the first day, it’s really a holistic internship program. They really take care of you to make sure you know how to succeed and how to navigate the magazine industry.”


And so far this summer, Hensel has been working hard to do just that.


As an intern for the business publication Inc. Magazine, Hensel has been working with a fellow intern and freelance editor on a large fact-checking project. She said she plans to work on even more editorial stuff in the future such as pitching and writing stories. She also admits that the “business-y” subject matter, which was at first a challenge, has now become quite interesting.


“What I love about journalism is that you get to learn about stuff that you’ve never studied before,” she said. “I really like being exposed to this completely new field, because it’s a business magazine and I have not taken a business class in college. But it’s all just really interesting.”


Having adjusted to life in New York, Hensel said she wouldn’t mind coming back for a while after graduation.


“I could see myself out here for a few years or maybe more, although I do really like it in the midwest. I love Minnesota!"


But for Hensel it really all boils down to learning and taking on new experiences.

“Really, I just love learning, and that's why I became a journalist. I don't want to spend the rest of my life doing the same thing day-in and day-out. I just want to work for a magazine where I can do and learn a lot of different things.”


––Written by Kevin Schultz, Northern Kentucky University, Scientific American
––Edited by Lindsey Murray, Temple University, Real Simple

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