hearst

I have never let money be a determining factor in achieving my goals. My family is one of those lower-middle-income families that tend to fall between the cracks. We are not wealthy enough to be able to pay for college without help, but we are not poor enough to qualify for much financial aid. I have always known how vital internship experience is. I wanted to get to New York. And I knew I had to do it alone. I took on odd jobs and lots of student loans. I made it work. I landed an awesome internship with Redbook magazine in New York for the summer. And here's a piece of my story...

Early one morning my editor at Redbook magazine asked for pumpkins. Thinking nothing of the mundane Monday task, I dialed a small farm in rural Minnesota. Through snorts, the farmer explained harvest doesn’t even begin until late August and I was out of luck.

Each day at Redbook was a life test. My editor expected perfection. She taught me when there is a will, there is a way and to never let down your boss.

I called hundreds of gourd growers across the country. And after hours of being belittled by flannel-wearing farmers, I told my editor the pumpkin hunt had not been successful. She looked at me strangely. “No,” she said, “I need pumpkins, and I need them by Friday.” She turned back to her computer and resumed frantically responding to emails.

That’s when it hit me. This is my “Devil Wears Prada” moment. This was my time to prove myself. I jumped back on the phone and continued on my quest. Nothing could stop me now. I was a lean, mean-pumpkin-finding machine.

I recently finished an internship with Redbook magazine in New York City. For months I worked in the home and lifestyle department as their only intern. Due to the publication’s recent layoffs, I took on jobs editorial assistants normally handle and worked intimately with editors. I gained experience scouting design markets for products and trends. I pitch story ideas and researched articles. I truly learned the inside workings of a national publication.

While in Washington, D.C., I interned for Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization that fights childhood hunger. There, I mastered excel. I served as an assistant manager for Hinges of Hope, a series of educational tours that connect constituents with hunger afflicted communities; operated on the Internal Conference of Leaders Committee, an annual conference for 350 to 400 sponsors, partners and volunteers; and worked on recruitment projects researching potential new restaurants, companies and individual partners for The Great American Dine Out, a national weeklong hunger-fighting fundraiser. The energy and passion of the people at Share Our Strength reminded me to never stop learning, growing and perfecting.

While at school, I interned for Home: Living in the Heart of Florida, a lifestyle magazine that focuses on home décor, restaurants and fashion. My work includes chef profiles, restaurant reviews and articles on home construction.

Three years ago, I began writing for The Independent Florida Alligator, the largest student-run daily newspaper in the country.

And for bread and butter money, I work as a photographer for Mangiante Photography, better known as Flashes, a national company that shoots pictures of social and sports events.

Through my experiences, I proved to myself I can survive and succeed anywhere. With each day come new challenges I am eager to embark upon. I believe my clips and internships show I have both experience and skill.

Oh and by the way, I found pumpkins. They arrived Thursday afternoon.