As my internship at the Guthrie News Leader comes to an end, I find myself trying to prolong it as much as possible. In an attempt for this not to be one giant thank you letter, I’ll give potential applicants and interns the best pieces of advice that come to mind or what I wish I’d known going in. 

Show up as prepared as possible but know there are so many aspects of a newsroom that simply cannot be taught in a classroom.

Never be afraid to ask questions and once you get over that initial fear of asking questions—ask more questions. 

Familiarize yourself with the city/town you’ll be working in but know you can only learn so much from staring at a map.

Attend local events and make yourself known to your audience.

Always get gas the night before (especially if you’re commuting like I did).

Write down the office address and telephone number on a post-it to keep on your desk until it’s memorized.

Prepare an opening statement for your interviews and never turn down any opportunity that comes your way.

The amount of experience I gained is unparalleled and I owe it all to four people and one city: Karan Ediger, Parker Burnett, Lucy Swanson, Jennifer Tennyson and the City of Guthrie

To the City of Guthrie: thank you for welcoming me with open arms and trusting me enough to tell some of your stories. It’s been a great summer and I’ll always #ChooseGuthrie.

To the Dream Team at the News Leader: thank you for letting me join the lineup and never treating me like “the intern.” I know that I am a better journalist today than I was on May 20 and I owe it to the work environment cultivated by four people. 

Karan, I cannot thank you enough for this life-changing opportunity. You never once doubted my capabilities and made me feel like a professional. The way you capitalized on my strengths and helped me remedy my weaknesses is something I know I would not have found at another newspaper this summer. 

I’ve had to correct myself while writing this because I want to call it a mentorship, not an internship. Your expertise is astonishing but it is your kindness that sets you apart from everyone else. You are a boss, Boss.

Parker, thank you for being so patient and always answering every question I asked without ever making me feel small. Even though you’ll deny this, you’re the most incredible InDesign wiz in the biz, and it’s been an honor to learn from and watch you work. 

Jennifer, thank you for showing me the ropes and being my lunch buddy. I appreciate you taking me on sales calls when you didn’t have to and always including me in the process. 

Lucy, thank you for being such a grounding force, not only knowing but actually answering every question I had and making the best cup of coffee in Logan County. You deal in dreamers and telephone screamers and I’m going to miss your jam sessions and sense of humor.

I would be seriously remiss not to thank Darcy Delaney-Nelson, Bailey Walker and my parents for their unwavering support and never giving up on me. 

Honestly, I could go on forever but my main takeaway from this entire experience is this: you get back what you put in. Whether that be time, energy, copy, etc., it is up to you what you get out of your internship. You have to jump in to swim and while it can be a bit scary sometimes, you will more than survive—you will thrive.