What it would mean for me to get an internship at a media company
I’m 7 years old.
I had just finished filling a purple marble composition notebook with short stories my little mind had imagined up. Two sisters on an adventure with their personified animal friend, a girl who shrinks to the size of a blade of grass. As I show my dad my mini publication, he’s sure I plagiarized because there’s no way his second grader had come up with this. My brother creates a table of contents on the front cover, embellished with illustrations and doodles we all fawn over. My storybook was complete — my first chapter book, my pride and joy. I never saw it again.
I’m 8 years old.
I had just finished my writing assignment for class. A 6 page short story, longer than anyone else’s. Everything was a race then, even my greatest passion. I strutted over to the teacher, clutching the loose leaf papers in both hands. She beamed supportively and encouragingly. Years later, she signed the back cover of my year book with a special note, “I can’t wait to read your articles in the newspaper one day,” the first person to ever push my dream along.
I’m 9 years old.
My mom asks me what I want to be when I grow up. I tell her “an author”, not quite sure what that word entails yet. She furrows her brow, thrown off and clearly disappointed. She responds, “You could be a pediatrician instead.” She then goes on and on about her lost opportunities, how she had a degree in Biology in India, how her family could not afford to provide her with the resources necessary to become a doctor in the end, how she had to start working at a young age. How she never knew her life would be permanently sacrificing everything for her kids, moving to a foreign country, giving up her dreams, her family, her friends, just to be a clueless tech consultant for a big company.
I’m 13 years old.
We’re in a hotel room at Myrtle Beach. The sun is blaring outside, the water a cooling temptation. My friends impatiently wait at the dining table in our suite, staring out the window, tapping their feet, clearly restless. But it didn’t matter. I had to finish my journal entry for that part of the day, the travel journal that had become my most prized possession over the years. They expected it; I took it on every vacation and every trip, filling it to the brim with details of every beach day excursion and every trip to Canada to renew our Visas.
I’m 15 years old.
My brother had just failed his first engineering class. My parents were screaming, they did not give everything up just for him to neglect his career and his hopes and dreams. He screamed back, it wasn’t his dream, it was theirs. That summer, my dad excitedly found me an unpaid position at a doctor’s office, where he pushed the employees to teach me everything positive there was about the life of a medical student.
I’m 17 years old.
We’re sitting in front of a university’s webpage, staring at hundreds of different options. My dad listed all the “interesting” majors, computer science, biology, pharmacy, none of which caught my eye in the slightest. Because he knew what I was zoned in on, the one thing I wouldn’t let go of. Journalism. As tension filled the room, my mom told me I was being narrowminded, selfish, and stupid. They weren’t forcing me into anything, look at all the options I had! Civil Engineering, I.T., Mechanical Engineering, Pre-med, Law, Computer Engineering…
I’m 18 years old.
I’m packing for college, unearthing all my old childhood treasures. My first-grade school journals, my old diaries. My travel journal — a whole decade old now, finally filled to the last page. I wonder if any of this effort will ever amount to anything or if I’ll get stuck in the cycle of I.T. consultant that my family so infamously followed.
I’m 19 years old.
I stumble across an internship opportunity at WNBC, one of the world’s biggest media companies. And with that, I completely lose myself in a fantasy world where I am Fareed Zakaria, I am Ariana Huffington, a fantasy world which I continue to live in.