Wednesday, March 27, 2019

I FINALLY Have an Internship!

So, kind of big news, okay, who am I kidding, HUGE news! I finally have an internship! After almost two years of applications going nowhere, and (almost) never hearing back from anyone, I finally have an internship!

And now for the twist. This will not be a traditional internship. In fact, I am basically making it up as I go! I had to get special permission to do my internship this way, but it will count as the final credit I need to officially graduate and get my degree!

I've mentioned my YouTube channel here before, I don't talk about it a lot here, but if you follow me on my public social media pages, then you'll know I almost always make at least one video a week. Some of those videos I do with other people, and one of those people is Rachel Wagner.

I mentioned her in my last post, you may have seen the pictures from January when I made a scarf and hat for her for a late Christmas gift. Rachel lives in Utah, and she and I met through the Rotoscopers. We both write for the site, and she's the main reason I finally bit the bullet and started my own YouTube channel.

We've become pretty good friends over the past few years, and for the past few months I have been occasionally doing some freelance editing for her. Rachel has two blogs, two channels, and two podcasts, (In addition to a full time job, completely unrelated to YouTube) and sometimes, on weeks where she has too much to do, she'll have me edit an episode or two of her podcasts for her.

In mid-January I started thinking, I have been getting some decent experience with this, I wonder if there is a way I could expand on it and make it count as an internship. I didn't say anything right away, like I said, I have been applying for internships ever since I graduated, and I had just applied for some at the beginning of the year, so I was waiting to see if anything came from them. Shocker, nothing ever did. Story of my life for the last 22 months.

Finally in February, I proposed an idea to Rachel, if I came on as an unpaid intern, would she have enough work for me to do on a consistent basis? It was an immediate yes. Like I said, she's very busy.

So, as for the unpaid part, I know I've said since I graduated that I was not going to do an unpaid internship, since it would almost certainly mean quitting my job while working on it, and I have bills to pay. I can't afford to be without income for 3 months, or however long a full-time internship would last. I had a plan for that, but since this internship is very unconventional, having it be unpaid would only work out if everything came together perfectly.

So, Rachel has actually been paying me since I started working for her, but knowing that she requests my services only when she's really needing some extra help, I figured it would be best to propose it be unpaid. That, and at this point I really just want to get this thing over with. I figured this way it'd be a win-win for both of us, as long as everything worked out the way I wanted it to.

Since January I've actually been working full time at the hotel. At first it was because someone went on vacation, but then there have been, (and are still continuing to be) a bunch of schedule disruptions. People quitting, getting promoted, moving to a different parts of the hotel; it seems like every week a new person leaves or is hired. At the beginning of February, one of the night auditors was moved to days temporarily, so I've been working five nights a week until things can go back to normal. Even if I wasn't working full time at the hotel, I am still employed at Hy-Vee, so I have full time work either way.

With that in mind, I am definitely not interested in quitting for an unpaid internship, no matter how much I need to get this thing done. So my idea in proposing the unpaid internship to Rachel was to keep working at the hotel, but work on the internship on the side. Normally internships are ten, 40 hour weeks. Basically it becomes your full time job for around three months. The way I was planning this, it would take much longer to reach the required 400 hours, but at least I could still have a steady income, and do the internship at the same time. Any other internship, unpaid or not, would not have this kind of flexibility.

So obviously I had Rachel on board, now I just had to convince my faculty adviser and the school's internship adviser. My adviser was pretty easy. Once I told him what I wanted to do, he thought it sounded like a great idea, and a great opportunity. I couldn't believe it! I thought I was going to have to work so much harder to convince him! Rachel even wrote up a huge long list of her qualifications, education, and achievements, and he hadn't even seen that when he said he liked the idea!

But then I had to make another appointment with the internship adviser, and I was sent a whole long list of guidelines, and forms to fill out before our meeting. And one of those guidelines was that the internship had to take place at a physical location, and I could NOT work from home. There were no exceptions listed anywhere in these rules, just that students MUST go to an actual workplace environment.

Well, I figured that was the end of that. I still decided to keep the meeting with her, I figured I'd at least TRY to explain everything on the very off chance that she could bend the rules for me, but I was no longer hopeful at all. I wondered if maybe my adviser didn't understand that I had planned to work from home before he given me the green light to move forward. At that point I had basically accepted that this was not going to work out. So the rest of that week I was not in the best mood.

When we finally had the meeting she seemed very hesitant about the idea, but when she heard that I had already been freelancing for Rachel, and that we always keep in close contact when I'm working on something for her, she seemed a lot more open to the idea. Apparently the biggest reason for the no working from home rule is that the students typically have a hard time keeping in touch with the person who is supposed to be their supervisor. The fact that I am always in touch with Rachel, made it pretty clear that that wouldn't be an issue.

The other reason they don't allow students to work from home is that the school wants students to get the experience of working in a professional environment. However, when she realized that I already work full time for the Gateway, that pretty much sealed the deal. I may not be getting the "Professional Environment" from the internship, but the fact that I've already had an office job for almost a year now, is great experience in and of itself. So the fact that I'm getting that experience somewhere, paired with the fact that I already have a great working relationship with with the person who would be my internship supervisor, she thought that this could be one of the VERY rare instances where they actually approve a work from home internship.

Of course this wasn't the end of it though, I still had to write up a formal proposal, the school had to get in contact with Rachel, and I had to go through all the official steps to actually register for the internship as a class. And then I had to wait more than two weeks for my registration date to open up, so I could actually submit the paperwork and actually get officially registered. Which finally happened today! Or, yesterday. It happened on the 26th. I work overnights, I can't keep days straight.

Right now it still hardly feels real. Over two years of applying for internships and I finally have one! Not to mention, I'm practically creating it as I go! I'm still full time at the hotel with a very unpredictable schedule, so I haven't fully gotten into everything, but my internship adviser told me, back when she officially gave her approval, that I could go ahead and start counting hours. So I have been working on a few projects here and there since then, but hopefully work will get back to normal soon, so I can get into the internship work on a regular schedule.

So anyway, that's my news for now! I probably won't do too many updates here along the way unless something really interesting or exciting happens, but I'll definitely follow up when I finish. Right now that's looking to be around September, but like I said, since I'm already working full time, I'm just counting hours as I go, so I can't predict an exact timeline. Either way, things are finally moving forward, and I'm just excited that this is actually happening! Before the end of the year, I should finally have my Bachelor's Degree!

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