- ABOUT US
Interns of Endearment
By Karlie Tipton
February 9, 2012
When I arrived for my first interview at Oklahoma Today in March 2010, which was, up to that point, the most important interview of my life, I was an absolute mess. My only dress clothes were ill-fitting, I forgot to change out of tennis shoes, and I was pouring sweat from walking up the stairs to the sixth floor (I couldn’t find the right elevator).
As I walked into associate editor Megan Rossman’s office, I was absolutely sure that I would not land the internship. I was late—I got lost, my only experience was one semester at the Oklahoma Daily, and I was in no way close to as cool as Megan, which I divined from her pop-culture covered walls (from Rainn Wilson dressed as Xena Warrior Princess to an elephant shooting a rainbow out of its mouth to Samuel L. Jackson pointing a gun right at me) and track jacket (it takes an unimaginable level of cool to pull off the track jacket).
But a funny thing happened: A few weeks later, I got a call back asking when I could start. I was elated but frightened at the same time (see: lack of experience). I had no idea what to expect on my first day at a real magazine. My only frame of reference for working at a publication was The Devil Wears Prada, which did not ease my anxiety. I assumed that I would be tossed head first into a dizzying world of running errands for curmudgeons who would yell at me if their coffee was not properly steamed.
That could not have been further from the truth. Megan and then-assistant editor Liz Blood eased me into my work as a factchecker as slowly and efficiently as possible. The rest of the staff made me feel like a welcome addition, rather than a burden—even though the location of my desk in the storage room made things appear otherwise.
As my internship progressed, everyone checked on whether I had a comfortable workload. Steffie continuously asked me if I had too much on my plate, to which I usually answered no (even if I did). But more importantly, all of the editors made me feel like I belonged. Megan was always willing to listen to one of my stories—even though they were not as interesting (or weird) as her own. Steffie was unbelievably patient with me, despite the thirty-five mistakes a day I’m sure I made.
By the time the time my internship was coming to a close, I felt like I would be losing friends, not just bosses. What I thought was my last week was filled with sniffling and sighs. But those twinges of sadness were never to reach full-on sob territory, as on my second-to-last day, Steffie asked if I would like to stay on as the editorial assistant. I didn’t say yes. I said, “Heck yes!” Although I had a whole new set of anxiety that came with a position I had absolutely no experience in, I knew that these were people I wanted to be around for a long time, even if it meant I would have to fetch an (occasional) cup of coffee.