Io Maeda ’24 — First, before talking about my summer internship, I would like to thank all of those involved in the Dill Fund. I appreciate very much that I was able to receive the fund. As an international student who does not have my family and house in the U.S., I would have a very hard time spending this entire summer vacation financially without the fund. Because my work at the Journal Review is a non-paid internship, I would have to survive by dipping into my savings. Otherwise, I would have to go back to my home country, Japan, to spend the summer with my parents. It would be boring without doing anything because Japan still has tight restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Therefore, I am very grateful that the Dill Fund has made it possible to continue living in the U.S. without worrying about my financial situation while I complete my internship.
Next, I would like to thank Dr. Kaplan and Dean Morin who suggested me to pursue journalism at the Journal Review this summer. At first, I was surprised that they suggested the internship because I was not interested in journalism at that time. Although I am a staff writer for the Bachelor, I have never dreamed of becoming a journalist in the future. However, I accepted the position because I could not think of any reasons to decline. Also, I wanted to gain a non-academic experience outside of the campus. It is a very difficult thing for international students to work outside of the campus because of their visa status. It took me about one month to complete the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application to legally start my internship. Also, the pandemic made it hard to connect with people to secure my internship. However, I was able to achieve gaining the internship because of the Career Services’ supports.
I am working as a journalist at the Journal Review. The working schedule is very flexible, which also means it is unpredictable. For example, sometimes I cannot have a holiday because festivals or events happen on a weekend that I must report on. I can enjoy as a participant, but I must always set my mind that I am there to write a story. I must observe carefully or have interviews to people to know what is happening on the venue. My internship is harder than I expected because it is different from my college life which my week schedule is fixed by classes. However, I enjoy my internship because I enjoy writing. The best thing about my internship is that I am not restricted to the office. It means that I can work from any place where there is a Wi-Fi connection to submit my stories. Therefore, when there is a day that I need to leave the office at early time, I do not have to feel bad because I can continue working or doing extra work in my room. The amount of my work is not directly connected with my working hours, but it is the amount of my stories published in the newspaper. Also, I like people in Montgomery County because they are kind and help me with my stories. Although I am not good at talking because English is my second language, they are patient with me when conducting interviews. At first, I thought that I would be not good at collecting information by asking to people because I am a shy and introverted person. However, this internship has so far made me more confident when talking with people.
This internship has taught me various things that I would not have gained just spending time on campus. First, I felt more responsibility as a journalist to tell the news to the readers. The Journal Review is different from the Bachelor because it is for the entire county and for profit. Through the way I tell the news, I can have a huge influence on showing certain events or people in a good way or bad way. Because there is a limit on the size of paper, I have to choose each word carefully to tell stories accurately in summarized words. Also, I learned that it is important to observe things from various perspectives. I should not stick into my bias because my role is to tell the objective fact, but not my opinion. Although sometimes I must delete information because of the limit, I do not omit because of journalists’ personal problems. I tell as much as I can to the readers. I believe that I am contributing to the readers by saving their time and telling accurate news. They would have to research by themselves if there were no journalists in this community. Finally, I think I improved my time management. I write different stories at the same time. I must think carefully through which story I should prioritize to finish before the deadline. For example, I do not have to write food reviews and music reviews in hurry. These are my external work that I work on when I am free. However, I need to write news about the event or incident within a day to announce to the public as soon as possible. Therefore, not only have I greatly improved my English writing skills, but I also gained several other skills to prepare to become a well member of society.