On Interning at Island Press: Vigor to Fight

The last time I went home to coastal South Carolina was different. I looked at the expansive salt marshes and brackish rivers I knew so well with a different mindset. It’s hardly the first time I’ve thought about climate change when thinking about home, but usually my mind tends toward a timid terror. The impending doom of the low-lying land I love so much has seemed like an inevitability for so long. This semester as the publicity intern changed that view. Island Press introduced me to a world of people whose thoughts are more often occupied by solutions than they were the daunting nature of the tasks ahead.

And so I too became occupied. Within a day I was already editing press materials and within a week I was writing them myself. Writing for Island Press quickly became a new and distinct challenge for me. Never before have I been asked to write on something like Restoration Ecology, a field as a communication major and general non-science person I had never come across. This became a repeating pattern and I became semi-versed in a list a subjects, fields, and communities I had yet encountered.

Although I would have been content to sit at a desk and write all semester, I was thrown into a variety of other areas as well. I had to quickly learn how to use InDesign to create flyers, placards, business cards, and other materials for book promotion. I sat in on editorial Decision-to-Publish (DTP) meetings and though shy at first, eventually began voicing my opinions. And through it all I never felt like “the intern.” When I spoke, people listened. And when you’re young, I believe the most valuable thing someone in a higher position than you can do is listen, give feedback, and avoid condescension at every turn.

This time when I go home to look at those South Carolina marshes, I feel more determined to save them more aware and in-tune with a community of people with similar goals. Instead of doom and gloom, I thought about resilience. And I have Island Press to thank.

Alright, I was planning on tying it up there, but I can’t. It would be nice though. “And I have Island Press to thank.” You can practically see me walk off into the sunset, no? I want to make it abundantly clear that Island Press did not teach me that I shouldn’t worry about climate change and that it’s all good. I should, and it’s not. Working here has not made me any less aware of reality, but it has given me vigor to fight for a different one.