As in, my internship with Patch. Not the world. But my little world will never be the same.
I don’t know what to do with myself now. I don’t have to check my email first thing every morning for urgent news breaks. I don’t have to turn my phone on for a call with my boss at 8:30. I don’t have to drive an hour to go interview someone and sit at Forza in University Place to hash out all of the information.
And I’m going to miss this stuff like heck.
It just felt right, you know? Even when it was tough, I never felt like I was doing the wrong job. It’s something I can stick with for the rest of my life, which was an experience I hadn’t had yet. And thank God I did, with one year left of school to sort it out for good. I was an intern, so I wasn’t expected to be perfect. But I was expected to listen, learn, and grow. That definitely happened. And I made friends and connections in communities I had no familiarity with before. I got off the Island.
My co-workers and I are a network of resources for one another. Now that we’ve heard the news that Patch is leaving Washington state, this is going to be crucial. Several of them have been laid off already, and others will be done on Oct. 15. This is happening around the country, and I fear that we have suffered the worst of it. I don’t know if the sites are just going to go black in October – they are still there now. It’s just so disappointing to develop such a connection with a group of people, but then you can’t come back to them in the way you wanted to. I was planning to return in December and guest edit so others could take vacation time. Now all I can do is talk to them. If I’m lucky, I’ll work alongside them again in a new way someday. It compels me to return to Seattle after graduation in May. They were so supportive of me, the intern, wanting me to keep up and learn what it’s like to be a real journalist, out there in the field, making contacts, and telling stories.
I remember at the beginning of July, I had a minor slip-up with a story, posting it on the site when it wasn’t ready to go. I felt terrible. I called Lauren for 15 minutes to talk about it and make sure we were on the same page – she made me feel so much better and that I was doing a good job. I never made this mistake again. The fact that she took the time to help me and say she was there for me if I was stuck was a huge boost, and I want to tell her how much I appreciated that. I will, soon. That’s just one example of the amazing support my co-workers provided me and the success of Patch’s team mentality. If we can create that everywhere else we go, I’ll be optimistic.
I’m also thrilled with the people I got to meet through my stories. I met police officers, soldiers, Miss Washington candidates, baby seals, a NASCAR driver, teenage rock stars, you name it. Many of them are people I would hope to keep in touch with for years. They make me want to stay here and not go back to school. They are the community members, the ones who make our jobs worthwhile. Where would the news be if there was no one around to make the news?
But alas, I must return to Decorah, Iowa once again. I just had three girls from there stay at my house for a night, as they were out on a road trip. (I knew them from before, of course.) So that helped get me into school mode and keep my mind off the fact that I’ve been cut short of time on my work. We drove around Seattle, on Capitol Hill and Pike Place Market. I also took them past Microsoft and my old house in Redmond. It sounded to me like they had a nice time, which makes me glad, too. And I’m planning a low-key cello performance a week from tomorrow at my house, for a few family members and friends. I’ll have time to practice for it, most definitely, as well as for auditions. Then of course, I have to pack.
So really, it’s not the end, now that I know another great thing is beginning: senior year. I hope my weekly blogs have been informative and somewhat entertaining about what it’s like to be a journalist. I still believe it’s fun and completely worthwhile. So thank you, Patch, for all you brought me. And thank you to everyone who has supported it and me throughout these two and a half months.
P.S. This blog isn’t going away – I’ll use it to provide updates on my next big thing: my senior Shakespeare project!