Sometimes, life changes while eating cookies in bed. At least, for me it did. When I got “the call” I was cross-legged, bending over my laptop and wiping crumbs from my sheets onto the floor. It was Canadian Geographic on the line, offering me an internship. This was the dream. I choke on my cookie and immediately start sweating.
It’s now a few months after that day, and my two-month internship has transformed into a paid position. I feel incredibly lucky. I’ve spent the past two months interviewing, writing, and sitting in on editorial meetings. I’ve met some wonderful people and learned a lot.
Among my favourite memories includes a fortuitous morning spent in a production meeting where my first story pitch for the magazine was accepted. Canadian Geographic is wonderful in that interns are always invited to the editorial meetings, where we gain extremely useful insight into the process of how a story is discussed and are able to observe the various social dynamics that go on in a group of creative, intelligent people.
As for the science communication program, I think one of the greatest strengths is its ability to expose students to a wider variety of options than they may have thought were available. I remember scanning through the long list of internship locations that past students went, and while I was pretty set on what I wanted to do, it was comforting to know that Dave and Chantal had so many friends in the industry.
In both internship and program, I’ve found that one cliché really holds true: what you put into it is what you get out of it. My advice would be to pitch both stories and ideas, volunteer at events, and if possible, spend at least one afternoon playing porketta bingo and drinking too much beer with people who are much older than you.
Or don’t do any of those things. By all means, find your own way and discard everything I’ve said. After all I still eat in bed, and still consider the floor an acceptable short-term solution for crumbs. But at least now I can afford the brand name cookies.