Sunday, July 27, 2014

Born to Be Here

Every morning, Chelsea Stone makes her way to work through the humid subway tunnels that link the East Village to Midtown. Despite being new to the city, she navigates the shuffling, shoulder-bumping crowd that pours out from underground onto the sidewalk with the ease of a New York native. After side-stepping countless coupons shoved in her face and a barrage of lost tourists, she arrives at her internship in a Midtown high-rise between 46th and 47th Streets on Third Avenue—mere blocks away from the apartment where she took her first steps.

Although she considers Las Vegas her hometown, the ASME intern was born in the Big Apple and lived here for the first two years of her life. Her parents met and fell in love in the city, but decided to move west when Stone was a toddler. “I don’t remember living in New York at all,” she says.

Not that anyone can tell. After two months in the city, Stone has already settled right in. At her Reader’s Digest internship, she has written several pieces for the website, one of which tells the story of a reunion between two Holocaust survivors. At her temporary home, she has made friends with her fellow ASME interns and roommates—and enemies with the occasional cockroach. She has even made time to sit down with an editor from Vanity Fair, attend a magazine copy-editing class and, in a surprising turn of events, reunite with long-lost cousins.

As a journalism major at the University of Southern California, Stone has spent the majority of her college years working at the student newspaper. Now the managing editor, she monitors the paper from New York. She says the buzz of breaking news invigorates her, but in no way lessens her love for magazines. The 21-year-old has held multiple internships at different publications, including Vanity Fair. These experiences have inspired Stone’s ultimate goals for her career: She aspires to be an editor after college, explaining that her creative juices flow best when she’s polishing a well-written story.

With her sights set on a future in magazine, Stone had surprisingly never considered moving to New York before this summer. However, after a couple of ASME weekly lunches, she no longer feels tethered to the West Coast. "I've always enjoyed visiting, but I've never thought, 'I have to move there,'" she says. "But I do really feel like this is the place where you can be the most successful. There's nowhere else in the world where you could meet 10 editors in one day."

Stone has two weeks left on the East Coast, and she plans to spend them finishing out her internship at Reader's Digest and marking off some of her summer bucket list items—like a tour of the Empire State Building and a trip to the Statue of Liberty. But no matter how she spends the next 14 days, one thing is for certain: When she gets on her flight back to Sin City, she'll be bringing back more than a summer in New York. She will also have two and a half months of learning experience, which are bound to change the course of her magazine career forever.

Written by Jane Claire Hervey, University of Texas at Austin, Reader's Digest
Edited by Helen Zook, Northwestern University, Travel + Leisure

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