Aug 02 2010

Internships Can Help You Choose a Profession You May Not Want to Get Into – By Tiffany N. Smith-Anoa’i

Tiffany N. Smith-Anoa'i

We have all heard how important internships are to jump start a career, help with networking, secure future employment and all that jazz –

However, my story is a little different, in that, as a young whippersnapper at Howard University I had my mind set on becoming a sports broadcaster and working in a newsroom the day after I graduated!

I was able to secure an internship at the local CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. and it was my dream come true, but it soon turned into my worst nightmare!

I learned the ins and outs of the newsroom like a curious fly on the wall and I was also exposed to all the dirty laundry, the fights over who got assigned what breaking news story, who got the best hair and make-up, who was dating who, however, nothing about sports!

It seemed that everyone on camera and behind the camera was actually working on “making it to the big leagues” and that not only meant “Hollywood,” but feature film roles to boot! This was the summer before I graduated and I panicked, as everything I had been working towards in school (and what my parents had paid for) came crashing down – I did not want to work in a newsroom!

YIKES!

Luckily I had an amazing mentor who had taken me under his wing and out of the ridiculousness of the newsroom and taught me an important lesson; this internship opened my eyes and proved that I actually did not want to work as a sports broadcaster!

Whew!

Realizing that I was not going to be stuck in a career I no longer had any interest in and that I had many options lifted a huge weight from my shoulders!

After several other internships I was able to place my feet firmly in the entertainment world as a communications specialist, ironically with CBS, where my internship began over 20 years ago!
I have come full circle and I am not looking back!

Now that I oversee the internship/mentorship program for the CBS Media Relations Department I encourage students who have their mind set on a specific career or company to jump in with both feet exploring as many internships as possible and really get a feel for the day to day job and all the nuances that come along with it!

Internships provide a looking glass into the near future and are still the best way to gain experience; sometimes it provides a door that opens for a career and/or a window the climb out of too!