For my first blog post I want to talk about the unknown, that moment when you find yourself thrust into a new situation you have to navigate. This should be at the forefront of all interns’ minds — I know it is for me right now — because being a part of this cohort means we are introduced to opportunities that, while rewarding, can also be intimidating.
For me the unknown materializes whenever I am sent to a new venue for an assignment. Not only am I faced with trying to figure where I am supposed to go, navigating the warrens of hallways and poorly marked doors, but I am also trying to familiarize myself with teams or groups or issues that I have zero knowledge of. It’s hard to cover a Mayoral Forum when I don’t even know the names of the candidates.
While the unknown can be intimidating, I have three techniques I use:
The first is doing my homework. Before being sent to cover a new assignment I look up everything I can on the topic. I search the web, take notes and try to become an expert in the field. This is a good strategy for approaching anything new, like joining a new workplace. It creates a foundation of experience you can draw on.
Second I stalk the people around me. I will figure out who the other reporters are and emulate what they do. This becomes an opportunity to learn how someone with experience approaches press conferences, where they go to work and when they take notes. In many ways it is another form of an informational interview, just through observations.
Finally, I have learned you can’t be afraid to ask for help. No one will think less of you for asking a question. People will understand because we are new at this, and we have to remember that the people who seem like experts were in the same position not too long ago.
So let’s keep jumping into the unknown, and soon enough it will all become second nature.