I was too nervous and excited to eat breakfast on the morning of my first day as a PATTERN intern. Heart pounding and stomach turning, I put on my freshly ironed dress, packed up my laptop, and poured a cup of coffee that I wouldn’t end up touching and headed out. I had no idea what to expect, and I still wasn’t completely convinced that my being selected from a pool of cool and qualified applicants like the ones I met at the interview wasn’t some kind of clerical error. The last to arrive at the office, I entered to see two big tables occupied by the other ten interns. I felt my stomach flutter again as I took my seat at one of them. This nervous anticipation wasn’t unfamiliar – I have always been wary of new experiences. Whether it be the first day of college, orientation at a new job, or even meeting a new friend for coffee; every change in my life has been accompanied by that queasy, lightheaded sensation. On my first day at PATTERN, I had no idea just how often that feeling would come back again and again over this summer. But I also had no idea how worth it the entire experience would be. As a journalism intern, I got to meet incredible people through doing Q+A’s like musician Molly Burch, who was vulnerable with me about her own history with anxiety. I got to see the Motor Speedway, where I had never been despite growing up in Indianapolis. I was assigned to cover the Indy Shorts Film Festival, the largest short film festival in the Midwest. By the time I scheduled my third interview, something had changed. I was gaining confidence, and was no longer paralyzed by worry. I was so busy keeping up, I didn’t have time to fret over my insecurities.
I also began gaining some much-needed direction. Through most of my education, I’ve been told by teachers and mentors that writing is my biggest strength (I definitely knew it wasn’t math or science). So when I graduated high school with no idea what career path I wanted to follow, I simply enrolled in college as an English major and figured the rest would follow. The word “journalism” conjured up images of reporters extending microphones at celebrities, or those old fashioned hats with slips of paper that say “press” on the side. The type of journalism I’ve gotten to do with PATTERN, unsurprisingly, is much more my speed. Fascinated by art but unskilled at it myself, I have loved writing about the incredibly talented creative people of Indianapolis. Promoting individuals and organizations that are doing good for the city, giving exposure to up and coming artists, and telling people’s stories are ways I can realistically put my writing skills toward serving an actual need.
I almost let anxiety prevent me from being a part of PATTERN. But what is becoming clear to me is that the sick-to-my-stomach feeling I get when I encounter a new experience is not permanent. And if I keep refusing to let it stop me, I can continue the trajectory of growth I have started this summer. Without the opportunities and connections I have been given these past few months, I would never have believed myself to be capable of what I have been able to do.