You did it! You just signed, sealed and delivered that acceptance email to your glam new internship position at a swanky fashion mag starting this summer. You’ve done all the research, you nailed that phone interview, and now you’re just a week away from your very first day behind those beautiful glass walls of a New York City skyscraper. Sounds like an absolute perfect dream that any Emily from The Devil Wears Prada would be vying for.
Turns out, though, that not all dreams turn out exactly as you expect.
If you’re anything like me when I took the leap into the towering glass skyscraper of fashion publication, you may have no idea what it’s like to work behind the scenes at a full-on publishing pioneer. Prior to my experience at a larger publication, I’d only worked on my blog and at smaller publications where my work and creativity developed through a much different editing process and lens. Taking that creative and professional jump can definitely be a whirlwind when you get introduced to the multi-tiered levels of a huge magazine, so to keep your mind at ease and avoid all Miranda Priestly-induced palpitations, these are four highs and lows to expect while working at your first fashion magazine internship.
1. Uh oh, this is a lot.
Easily, the first emotion I felt when starting out was, woaaaaahhh, this is a lot. And when I say a lot, I certainly weigh quality and quantity equally. Like any start of an internship, it’s a lot of learning that can seem overwhelming at times—and with that, the more work learned means the more work given. All in all, fashion internships are hard. They test just about characteristic you have—endurance, patience, attitude, resilience, precision, haste. Whether it’s running on an errand to get samples, sending out an international package, or turning around an article in ten minutes, it’s all about balancing each task equally and wearing many different hats. The truth is, it is a lot. But with practice comes perfection, and the skills you gain through all of these tasks are irreplaceable.
2. I got this.
Once you get in the routine of your internship, the days will not only fly by, but they will also get easier in many ways. Now, you’ll know where to hang that garment bag, or what Prada store you have to call, or what images you have to pin on Pinterest during certain times of the day. Like most internships, things get easier as you get more comfortable in your position. The “I got this” feeling is amazing— but be weary of it. It’s incredible to be confident, but remember to step back and check in with yourself every so often to stay humble and not cross the line into the forbidden territory of over-confidence. Remember, you’re there to make the lives of the editors above you easier, you’re not there to show off (as wonderful as your work may be).
3. Dammit, (or insert other expletive here).
Ah, this one you may experience more than once. But it’s a good one. Give yourself a rule: every time you say ‘dammit’ in your head after you feel like you’ve done something wrong, work extra hard to make it right. As humans, we make mistakes. Chances are, you will (unless you are a robot) make mistakes at your fashion magazine internship. And as I know from experience, it’s extremely hard to not get down on yourself when you do make these mistakes. No one said it was going to be easy, but that’s all the more reason to give it your damnedest try (pun intended, obviously).
4. Holy Crap I Can’t Believe I Just Did That
My absolute favorite. This feeling definitely doesn’t kick in until toward the end of your internship if not after, but it’s the most rewarding in the world. Being able to look back and see how much you’ve grown is simply irrevocable. An ideal transformation of Andy Sachs, in DWP terms. While you may have earned a stellar name on your resume, you’ve earned so much more than that—skills of perseverance, agility, professional demeanor and meticulousness that have changed you as a person, both personally and professionally. Through all of the “I got this” highs and “Dammit” lows, you not only survived, but came out as a better person in every aspect of the word, and that is worth just about every “oh, shit” feeling the human mind can experience.