It’s difficult to try and pave a career path for yourself when you’re young, freshly out of college and interested in a creative field. If you move to a big city, it’s very important that you have some sort of structure to fall back on and a support network (friends, family back home, etc.). 

All employers want to hire someone with experience, but how does one acquire experience?

This is where the tricky and often dreaded term “intern” comes into play. It’s very controversial for companies to hire interns as everyone, no matter how young and green, has to earn money so they can live and have food and a roof over their heads.

In my limited experience,the only time an internship works is if one completes it either while in college or if they have another source of income and don’t have to rely on the internship for money (and yes, there are some paid internships). Maybe one of the best things is to think of life as an internship and every job (no matter what it may be) as a learning opportunity. Work is work: whether you’re working in a shop or a restaurant to make ends meet, use this to your advantage and think of it as a kick start to your future: work ethic is everything. It’s very important to be able to know how to do real life things.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a city where you can meet fellow established artists, become their friends. If they take you on as an unpaid intern, you’ll find that you’ll end up getting paid in friendship and experience. Meeting writers and artists who have worked at their craft for years is very inspiring and it’s not so hard to fall into: go to readings and free events in NYC and you’ll shortly feel as if you belong to the crowd of artists. In short, do what you have to do to survive but also take every opportunity and use it. Think of it all as a learning process, as stepping stones to getting that novel written or being hired at your dream job.


About the Author

Katherine Sloan '12

Katherine Sloan graduated from Longwood University in 2012 with her MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She currently lives in New York City and is working on freelance projects for writers such as Rick Moody. She and her twin sister, Angela have pieces of fiction published by Three Rooms Press in a collection called Songs of My Selfie. You can follow her on Instagram at @sloankatherine or find her on LinkedIn under her name. Some of her favorite people include Nick Cave and Joan Crawford.

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