This is a contribution from Visruthi R., who was the Student Editor for Issue 7 (Jul-Aug 2012) of ParentEdge.
With no exposure to the professional world whatsoever, I signed up for the Parent Edge internship. When people talk about work experience, I used to wonder about why it was that important. We learn everything we need and so much more in school and college and all we have to do is apply it at work. If you know all the theory, application really can’t be that hard. And naturally, I was so wrong.
After working at Parent edge, I realised that I had developed so many skills that I obviously had not picked up at school. The most important thing that I learnt was how to meet deadlines. When you are working in the media everything seems to be about meeting deadlines. The whole publishing process is riddled with deadlines to meet. Every time I spoke to the editor, she would give me deadlines for finding interview contacts and speaking to them, then the interviews were read by her and she would tell me about the gaps in the information that I had collected. I then went on the hunt to find more people to interview and ultimately put all of them together before actually writing the article. I was already exhausted but the real work hadn’t even started.
Then came the writing, which again is so different from creative writing at school. At school, we wrote essays and they were returned after being graded. We never tried reworking the essay to see how it could be written better but for ParentEdge, every time I wrote something and sent it in, it would be sent back with corrections that had to be made in time. I would always wonder how I could get it all done in time and there were many times when I didn’t. Thankfully, the editor was very understanding and slowly but surely, I finally managed to meet my deadlines! The second thing I learnt was how to perform the great balancing act.
ParentEdge came at a time when I was busiest at school. I was doing a musical and I also had projects and exams. The two were independent activities and I had to make sufficient time for both. I would be exhausted after school and I would push the magazine work to the last minute. For the first issue that I worked on, my editor and I knew I didn’t do a good enough job but things improved for the second issue. I bought myself a day planner and I never let things go till the last second. There were more responsibilities at school too but thanks to my day planner and ParentEdge, I did a much better job there too.
This magazine taught me about valuing others’ time, honouring a commitment, being flexible, prioritising, accepting and working on criticism. When I apply for a job few years later, I can say that I do have work experience that gave me so much to learn and was quite fascinating.