I was told that work experience and networking would be two of the best things that I could do for myself while in college. In addition to my schoolwork, extracurriculars, and two co-ops, I decided to complete an internship for credit in my third year at Drexel. I landed an amazing opportunity at Fox 29 studios in Philadelphia, working on one of their entertainment television shows called “The Q.”
On my first day, I remember being so nervous yet so excited to start. For the first week, I took in my surroundings and the amazing talent that was around me every day. I made sure that my bosses knew my name and saw my level of focus and commitment to the job.
Early on, I learned that my role was integral to the production of the show and success of each taping. On Mondays, when there was no live taping, Producer Meredith Ells and Host Quincy Harris tasked me with finding story ideas for the different segments on the show. I would research trending news and topics from the weekend or the previous day. My next task would be to research groups — whether they were nonprofits, companies, dance teams or churches — that we could invite as part of our “Q-Appreciation” segment. It was also my responsibility to book regular audience members for the tapings.
Tuesdays and Thursdays were taping days. As soon as I entered the building, I would start preparing the studio for the incoming audience. I also put together the guest list. On the show, we often had celebrities, comedians, band members and more. I handled the tasks of getting them situated, bringing them to get mic’d for the taping and making sure their segment ran smoothly. Throughout the taping, I was in charge of getting the host whatever he needed, creating social media content and assisting the crowd if they needed anything. Needless to say, the show’s taping heavily relied on me successfully completing my tasks.
One of the best things about working at Fox 29 was that my superiors supported my growth and interests. I saw so many sides of television and entertainment, like creative services for promotional materials; control rooms for sound engineers, producers and writers; guest and audience booking, and more. As a communication major, this opportunity placed me in an environment with so many people who could teach me, mold me and push me to grow.
Here are some of the things I did to get the most out of the experience:
- Be open to learning all that you can.
Landing the internship or co-op and completing your tasks is just the beginning. Use each day to meet someone new and to ask if other departments need your help. Don’t cling to your desk or put a limit on your capabilities. The more you know and the more you learn, the better your experience will be.
- Network! Network! Network!
Speak to everyone. You never know who can be beneficial to your learning, and a short conversation can go a long way. Learn about who your superiors are and be willing to open up about yourself. Even if I was having a bad day, I made sure to speak to people I saw in the hallways. I always asked for advice and became friendly with many of my coworkers. Make yourself seen, and they WILL know your name.
- Let fear mobilize you.
This is a piece of advice that the host of the show, Quincy Harris, gave me. He said, “Always let fear mobilize you; don’t let it stabilize you.” It’s normal to be afraid to put yourself out there in the professional world. I often am very hard on myself, and I want to excel at everything. But be realistic with your expectations. If you want to pitch an idea for a show, understand that it may not stick, but your initiative will shine through. I learned that sometimes I will hear the word “no,” but I will also hear “yes.”
- Be yourself.
This piece of advice is common, but it rings true. At a place like Fox 29, higher ups want to see your personality. Don’t get stuck on what someone else is doing and try to emulate that. Figure out the best way to show your passions, drive and personality, and stick with it. Authenticity goes a long way.
For more information on careers, cooperative education and internship opportunities, visit Drexel’s Steinbright Career Development Center.