Monday, March 27, 2023 Mar 27, 2023
65° F Dallas, TX

What It’s Like To Be an Intern at D

By Krista Nightengale |

Michelle Saunders is one of our new interns. Her first day was Thursday. She seemed to do well. We’re working on getting our March issue out the door, so I didn’t have time to ask a lot of questions. But then on Friday, I had to tell her to leave (I feel guilty when interns work later than I do). She said she had just a couple more things to finish and she was only going to stay until 6 or so. I begged her not to, and then I left. I still haven’t asked her how late she stayed. I’m afraid of the answer.

However, she sent me a note this morning from her first day. It amused me, and I thought it might amuse you as well.

Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Michelle Saunders and I am one of the new spring 2012 interns here at D.  Just how new, you ask?  Keep reading and you’ll understand.Yesterday was my first day and it started off without a hitch, er with relative hitches, well…define hitch (oh wait, that’s my job!).  I left my house in plenty of time and despite typical Dallas traffic, made it to the parking garage a couple of blocks from the office in just enough time to walk there.  Although I’m growing increasingly nervous, I set off with a jaunty step, ready to edit, highlight, slash, and verify.

I call my mom to let her know I’m about to start and I talk to her as I walk…until I trip and eat pavement just one short block from the office. Did I mention I’m on Ross Avenue? In the heart of Downtown? During morning rush hour? Yes, Dallas, that was me, Michelle, who accidentally flashed you as I scrambled to retrieve the contents of my bag, my laptop, phone, and dignity (in that order). Luckily the light changed quickly so I couldn’t see your faces as you sped by me, smirking behind your tinted windows.

I grab my phone and my mother, bless her, is still on the line.

“Where did you go? “ she queries. “Are you in the building now?”

“No mom, I just tripped and fell on my face for all of Dallas to see, but I’m alright. Wish me luck. I’ll call you later.”

I hang up abruptly and hurry as quickly as my bruised knees and wounded pride will let me and arrive five minutes late, thanks to my little accident, and just a little bit (read: a lot) flustered.

Luckily, my editor sets me to work instantly and I begin my task, working happily until I hear brisk footsteps approaching my desk and look up to see Wick Allison, The Wick Allison rapidly approaching my desk.

My heart starts racing and I’m sure my fellow intern and master of ekphrasis, James, can hear it.

I quickly remember the two pieces of advice given us interns regarding Wick at orientation.

  1. When Wick asks you to do something for him, you do it.  Instantly.
  2. Don’t look him in the eyes. Ever.

Wick introduces himself and I glance briefly into his eyes. He seems nice enough, friendly, even. I don’t want to take any chances though so I quickly lower my gaze to somewhere between his knees and shoes.

Offering me a small slip of paper, he asks me if I know how to create a PDF, a simple enough task.

He reads my frozen face and says “No?” But I remember the first piece of advice about him (see above) and hear myself saying too loudly, “Yes, of course I know how to do that!” Besides, I have made a PDF before…once…a couple of years ago…just not at D…I don’t even know where the scanner is yet…but I’ll figure it out…

“Great!” He says optimistically, leaving me to contemplate the consequences of stretching the Ninth Commandment and wondering if I’ll get fired for asking how and where to make this PDF that I just said I knew how to make.

Luckily, my manager appears like my editorial fairy godmother and guides me to the scanner and shows me the process while counseling me to “Just ask if you don’t know how to do something.” Solid advice. Duly noted.

I slink back to my desk and thankfully, the rest of the day goes off relatively smoothly except for when I accidentally dial the front desk (Hi, Chelsey!) while trying to call a source and struggle to access my work email. (Thanks, James!)

To my dismay, however, I realize that after my first 8 hours, I’ve only gotten 1/3 of my first assignment done and need to come in early the next day to finish it.

After leaving and slowly walking back to the parking garage (one bloody knee is enough for one day, thank you very much!), I proceed to wander around like a mouse in a maze because I can’t for the life of me remember what level I parked on (4g? 5f? 6d? 7z?).  I can only imagine what a kick the security guards are getting as they watch me wander around getting more and more lost, and I’ve almost resigned myself to either swallowing my now non-existent pride and asking for their help, or else spending my first night in a downtown parking garage. Luckily, at that exact moment I find my car, a mere 35 minutes later.

As I sink into the worn seat, I finally breathe a sigh of relief at having made it to the end of the day. Although at times it was trying, I did not have to get anyone coffee, clean any toilets, or comb the famed Michael J. Mooney’s supposedly luxurious locks. So, all things considered, I would say my first day was a success. Here’s to Day Two. –Michelle Saunders