I am not what most would consider your “traditional“ intern. I’m not in college, balancing classes, work, and counting the days to life after graduation. I graduated from my undergrad in 2015 with a BFA in photography. I turn 29 next week. As soon as I got my diploma, I got the first corporate “big girl job” that I could find, although it wasn’t in my field. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? I felt unfulfilled in my job and it seemed like I couldn’t find the time to feed my artistic desires. With the expectations of society, I felt like I was supposed to have my life figured out by 30. Oh the pressure! It was eating me away. I know it sounds dramatic but man, I missed being part of a creative community and I barely made art anymore so finally I decided to make a change. I applied for the program at PATTERN, made the cut, quit my full-time job and became an intern.
On my first day at PATTERN, I entered the wrong door. I felt the nerves and excitement like on your first day of school. I then saw a handwritten message taped to the door that read, “PATTERN: Outside and first door on your right.” Ok. Phew. I’m not the only one. This must be a common mistake. I finally found the right door that read #PATTERNIndy. Once I walked in, I sat down at a table with the other interns and introduced myself. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was hoping it would all be worth it and then…it hit me, “Holy shit. I just quit my job, I’m pushing 30 and I’m an intern again. I hope that I made the right choice.”
The first few days, I felt like I was twiddling my thumbs because I was waiting for task after task to be assigned to me. We had so much creative freedom that I didn’t even know where to begin. Finally I got off my ass and became more confident to ask for tasks and also began my own projects. After that push I felt like I was doing more, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t leave the studio everyday without learning something new.
My goal was to find my confidence and excitement for photography again. I needed that fire under my ass to stop moping around wondering where my place was in the world and when I would finally get my chance to shine. During this internship, I have met new (wonderful) people, tried new things outside my comfort zone and was reminded that I CAN and that my dreams are not too far out of my reach. Every experience is what you make of it. Often times we get caught up in the negative so we forget about the positive. I’ve learned that attitudes are contagious and everyone has something to bring to the table. Pick people’s brains and let them pick yours. Be open to learning from anyone and everyone. PATTERN’s a space where I felt that there was a willingness to teach and that the people around you care about your personal growth. It’s not your typical internship program where you just make coffee runs and organize the boss’ files all day.
I’m bummed that this internship felt like it went by so fast! I feel like I’m just getting started! Although in the past, it felt like the world was telling me to give up on my dreams. I’m glad I didn’t listen. You’re never “too old” or “too late” to follow your heart’s calling. Although the sign on the studio door is small and admittingly easy to miss, PATTERN has opened a whole new perspective of possibilities for me. PATTERN is more than a magazine. It’s a unique culture, and diverse community making their mark in the world.