Finding my fit

I spent the last week of February in New York with 23 other college students. A faculty member went, too but he wasn’t a chaperone. We spent the weekdays visiting various magazine offices to meet editors, and we had the weekends and nights to explore the city.

Oh, and, as magazine club president, I planned the whole thing. So I was pretty stressed going in. The flight, the hotel, the visits – it was all on my head. I wasn’t even able to get excited until we had arrived, and as much as I love New York, part of me was looking forward to it being over just so I could come home and have the trip off my shoulders.

But it was a great success. We had some travel delays on the way in (refueling stop in Pittsburgh) and faced a full-blown snowstorm (some offices had snow days), but everyone had a great time and seemed to learn a lot – including me. It was my second time going on this trip, so I the overwhelming newness didn’t affect me, and I think that let me absorb a lot more.

So here’s what I took away:

I solidified my acquaintance with the city of New York, and I now feel like I know my around pretty sufficiently.

I reminded the editors I met last year of my existence, and I introduced myself to many more.

I found a place to live this summer and started on my already-lengthy summer-in-NYC bucket list.

I was again hit with the realization that magazine editors are normal people. They don’t all wear stilettos, designer clothes or even makeup.

I came to terms with the fact that I will never be a happy subway traveler. It’s too cramped and confusing, not to mention grimy, for me.

I learned that some ideas that seem revolutionary to the rest of the world came from magazine editors just goofing around and having fun.

I mastered the art of carrying high heels in my bag and walking around in gym shoes, switching moments before heading up the elevator.

I saw once more that the atmosphere at every magazine is different. Some take themselves very seriously, and some are just having fun. Some operate under a hierarchy, and some prefer a democratic approach. Some will give you an issue that hasn’t come out yet, and others won’t tell you who’s on the next cover. Some have solid white walls, some have cubicles, some have open spaces, some have decorations and color.

And I think that’s the most important thing to be gained from actually visiting magazines, because with this awareness you get a sense of where you fit – and it’s now always what you expected. I think most of the trip participants were surprised at least once by how much they liked an office. Every place has a totally different feel, and from experiencing that I have an idea of where I would be happy and where I would like to work.

And now I have a lengthy list of editors who will hopefully give me a job at one of those publications. Plus, I can add to my resume “coordinated transportation, hotels and itinerary for 24-person trip to New York.”

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