The real world is weird. You emerge from the sheltered existence of a college undergrad to find that your new roommates are you parents. And then there’s figuring out your career path—a daunting task where it feels like doors are closing everywhere you look and you are dumbfounded that Joe Schmo from high school appears to have it all figured out.
Like the archetypical new intern, I was not quite sure what to expect coming into my first day at Island Press. All I knew at that point was that IP’s mission really resonated with me. I also could tell from my phone interview that my supervisor, Meg, was going to be really cool.
I immediately saw that Island Press had everything I imagined in an ideal office: warm and welcoming coworkers; a 30-year-old fax machine; a catering preference for chipotle; and an obvious passion for the work being done.
Another thing that was instantly awesome was the responsibility that Meg, Development Associate, and Meredith, Associate Director of Development, gave me from the very beginning. I was looking for an opportunity to learn and experience more than I was just looking for a title to put on my resume. As someone who is fascinated by the details of how things work, I knew the development department would be the perfect place to learn about the mechanics of Island Press. Meg did her best not only to make sure I understood what I was doing, but also why it was important. She ensured that I did work that was not only helpful to Island Press, but that will also be helpful to me in the future.
One of my favorite days at Island Press was the day of IP 101’s, in which each department did a presentation on what they do. These presentations were a glimpse into the book publishing process, but also into the non-profit process. In addition to the development-specific skills that I have picked up throughout this internship, I am so happy to also have a big picture understanding of Island Press.
Within my second week as an intern, I was recruited by Leigh, Conservation Finance Network Program Manager, to help out with an upcoming Conservation Finance conference. I am so glad that I was able to attend because I could not imagine a more interesting introduction to conservation finance. This workshop had it all—compelling panel discussions, engaging presentations from some of the more intelligent people I’ve met, and delicious hand-squeezed lemonade.
As I continue in the real world, I have three months’ worth of great experience from my time at Island Press to help me find my way.