In my last blog I talked about the variety of opportunities at Columbia, but how it’s up to you to take the initiative and make the most of those experiences.
Prior to going I was asked: “Aren’t you nervous?” And upon returning, I kept getting asked: “How was it?”
The answers: “Yes.” and “Amazing!”
But instead of giving a play-by-play description of the week, I thought I would merge that with the mental aspects and challenges I face with each opportunity.
It’s something everyone deals with a time or two or more in their lives. And it usually happens when you take a chance towards a new life venture.
While I, myself, am no expert, and am still working on this, I can speak from first-hand experience about working to overcome that self-doubt.
Risk it. Take those chances.
The worst that can happen when you take a chance is that you’re told “No.”
However, if you never take the risk or the chance, you won’t ever reap the rewards. And you may miss out on one of the greatest opportunities you may ever have to further your skills, your talents, your interests and ultimately your career.
Every opportunity is a chance for you to redefine and rediscover yourself. To tap into your already existent skills and interests and expand upon them. To push yourself to places “unknown.” To new adventures and “happy accidents”—as I like to call them—when you embark on something new.
I promise your expectations going in will be a distant light at the end of the tunnel when you’re done traveling down the path of that opportunity. They will be surpassed. Exceeded. And you’ll come out with a whole new perspective—whether it’s something you’ve been doing for years or something you just learned.
A perfect example of this was the Studio Xperience internship with Waskul.TV.
Despite my self-doubt I applied for the position after one of my mentors recommended it.
First lesson: Trust what others believe in and see in you. They wouldn’t advise you if they didn’t think you were more than qualified and ready for the opportunity. In addition they will support you every step of the way, and they will be like eager parents wanting to know “how the first day of school went.”
Three months after I applied, I received an email stating I was one of the eight interns chosen out of more than 100 applicants nationwide.
I could not believe it. I was ecstatic and filled with a renewed sense of confidence in my abilities and the work I was doing towards my dream career.
Although the “tough part” was over, I was still filled with nerves and self-doubt heading into that week about how my prior experience would compare to those of the other student interns.
Once I was there, it was a whole different story. And the opportunities were more than I could have imagined.
I was able to learn the production side of live broadcast and experience and work in it. I was able to collaborate and work in a team of very talented individuals that I literally had just met—not to mention do it efficiently and successfully. I met some great people and interviewed impressive industry leaders from top companies such as Dell, Intel, HP, Eye On and Newtek.
Second lesson: Don’t be afraid to share your skills and talents.
Each one of us came in possessing various strengths, skill sets and previous experiences, which means we all had something unique to bring to the table.
Third lesson: Regardless of everything you know and have experienced, remember you never stop being a student. And remember that attitude is everything, especially when you’re learning and when you’re surrounded by an array of personalities. Stay positive and open to ideas. Although you may gravitate to certain tasks, work to expand those and dabble in other areas of opportunity.
As I mentioned, I was able to the learn the behind-the-scenes side of broadcast. What it takes to produce a live streaming show. How to operate the cameras, how to communicate with team members, how to operate the TriCaster for visuals and making sure the next interview guest is here, mic’ed up and comfortable. I also learned how to operate a new brand of camera and editing software.
Fourth lesson: Be observant. As a journalist it’s in our blood to do this, but don’t limit yourself to only doing it when it comes to covering a story. Take a look around at what tasks need attending to and/or where you can step in and contribute.
During the Studio Xperience, I noticed one of the Waskul.TV team members walking around the interview theater with a live headset on, working the live cameras for the interviews and carrying a DSLR camera with him to take pictures. Given I not only enjoy taking pictures, but also had experience being a digital media journalist last semester. I asked him if I could take the camera and take pictures so he could focus on the live streaming video quality. He handed it over and I took off—taking pictures of all aspects of the Studio Xperience, from the interviews to the interns at work to the vendors and attendees. I then pitched the idea of creating an audio, photo slideshow that depicts what the Studio Xperience is and the benefits of the opportunity to the CEO and founder of Waskul. He approved and I’m in the process of putting that piece together, which will be featured on his website.
Fifth Lesson: Do the extra even if nobody is looking. Do it because you want to and have a passion to help, don’t do it for the “praise.” The “thank you’s” and the praise will come, but don’t work solely to out-do the others, do it to better yourself, contribute and make the most of the opportunity.
The Studio Xperience was great because you live and work in every aspect of what it takes to put on a live production—even the “dirty” work. We helped set up, steam the showroom curtains, vacuum the floor, clean the vendors booths and tear down—rolling up all the cable and electrical wires, deconstructing the stage, etc. The amount of work that goes into producing an experience like the one we were in is more than most would ever imagine.
Last lesson: Take a step back to let it all sink in.
Don’t forget to take a break and have fun. Believe me, I am still working on this, but you have to set aside time for yourself. Whether it’s to relax, go out and have fun, watch movies, run, etc. you need to do this. It will keep you sane. It will keep the appreciation factor there. And it will allow you to reboot before starting a new project or returning to the existent one.
While there may be that underlying self-doubt still in existence, don’t let it hold you back, or worse, stop you. Work to channel it in a constructive manner and make it productive. Also, sometimes you just have to fake it ‘til you make it—by not showing this insecurity to others. Just remember to stay true to yourself, play to strengths, be open to learn, stay motivated, take a breath and take the initiative.