Wading into the Unknown


pexels-photo-87237For 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.

Christopher Keizur

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8 Responses to Wading into the Unknown

  1. sydneyandree says:

    Awesome blog post! Being observant of other successful people in your field is, in my opinion, one of the best things you can do as an intern. I also really like where you emphasize how important and acceptable it is to ask for help. I feel like many interns are too afraid to let on that they might not know what they’re doing – but this is the time we should be asking the most questions.

  2. I totally can relate to what you are saying in this blog post. Starting these internships definitely has a learning curve getting to know the area, the people and even the job itself. I agree that observing coworkers and asking questions when you can’t find the answer yourself are the most effective ways for us to be using our internships.

  3. Allie says:

    I think that looking at how the other workers act around you and trying to reflect that is a great way to assimilate in a new workplace environment. Doing that allows you to become confident in your position and workplace culture without stepping on toes or being too reserved. Great post!

  4. Joshua Netzer says:

    Well done, Chris! Outstanding advice here and deep insight. Color me very impressed with this post.

    ~J

  5. You took my thoughts right out of my head on this one, Chris! As someone who wants to be on top of everything from the get-go, much of “jumping into the unknown” is intimidating to me but I love how you flipped it around as something that can everyone can benefit from. Personally, I struggle with the asking for help part. If I research and stalk people as you say, I want to feel like I can use that information to do any given task on my own but sometimes you have to suck up your pride and just ask.

  6. andrewbantly says:

    I like your topic here. For me, the unknown starts days before, when I’m lying in bed thinking of what the experience as a whole will be like. Of course, I’m terribly wrong 100 percent of the time. Nevertheless, it’s always exciting. I liked your final point, one that isn’t as obvious as the first two. Asking for help can and sometimes does seem daunting, however it’s so magnificently easy once you get over the hump because, well, people like helping people. It makes them feel good. So, in essence, it’s a help me help you (feel good) situation. Well done, Chris.

  7. hmaarchive says:

    I think the last point nails it. Not everyone is in a place where they are going off on venues or in the same department to observe what works best for others- especially as most of us are on the computer. However, asking questions as an intern is like drinking water in the desert- survival tactic number one. Asking questions not only clarifies any questions or concerns you may have, but it often stimulates new ideas. Secondly, it forces you to slow down and think about the question you actually have. I’ve learned that I often ask questions I already know, or that aren’t as important once I verbalize it.

  8. kalinske says:

    could not agree more. Asking questions is crucial as an intern.

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