Last summer, while I was working seven days a week juggling two internships, I often asked myself, “Why the HELL am I doing this?” It was fine for me to question myself. It was not fine, however, for others to question me. When Carlos was in the picture, I was telling him about my internship at Cosmo and all the amazing things that I was doing and learning.
“How much do you make?” he asked casually.
“It’s unpaid,” I told him. “But I get college credit, a great magazine on my resume and the chance to fulfill the internship of my dreams!”
He laughed at me and basically likened me to a slave. He didn’t get the point of unpaid internships or “working for free.” And as much as I tried to explain how competitive and valuable these things are, he still did not get it. I stopped explaining, hung up the phone and went to bed.
In December, I’ll leave my school with a print/online journalism degree, and hopefully I’ll be working at a reputable magazine, newspaper or website. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I HAVE to make it in this field…a field that some of my family and friends don’t get. They don’t see the thrill of breaking news or the joy of laying out pages in Adobe InDesign or the intricate way writers weave words in their articles. Nah. They just see me, a silly girl writing silly stories and spending loads of money on software and magazines. It’s the same prob with some guys that I’ve talked to. It’s cute and asinine to them…but my dreams are serious to me.
My fellow aspiring journalista friends and I often complain that guys outside of our college, the School of Communications, simply don’t understand what we do. They think it’s frivolous. School of Medicine men are too busy with their stethoscopes up their self-important a**es. Poli sci guys are more Wall Street Journal than our preferred GQ. English majors prefer long form essays and classic literature instead of our blog posts and coveted mag cover stories. And School of Divinity cuties are just untouchable, buried in their iPad Bible apps. There aren’t many guys at my school, but I’m glad that most of these young men are ambitious, passionate and goal-oriented. That doesn’t do anything for our dating lives though. So, I wondered, should other journalists just date other journalists?
I mean, think about it. When I’m on deadline, nothing or no one else exists ‘til I beat the clock and finish my tasks. Someone who doesn’t understand that pressure wouldn’t get it when I push him to the side for a few hours. Another journo would give me my space and all the coffee that I need to get the job done. A needy dude wouldn’t understand when I’m buried in my timeline or transfixed on a fashion week gallery. Those seemingly weird kinks and quirks that journalists have – our obsession with all things caffeinated, our aversion of most situations personal and social – are misunderstood. So maybe I do need a Dufour to my Sandman.
I ran across the co-founder of a swanky D.C. PR firm recently. She’s the prototype of a BaddieBey: independent, intelligent, glamorous and humble. And to the best of my knowledge, she’s single. So I asked her the question that’s been boggling me since freshman year…if it’s best for doctors, lawyers, teachers, stylists, waiters and journalists to date their counterparts to avoid drama and confusion.
“It can be,” she said. “It happened to me. I pitched a story to a writer at NBC, we met for casual drinks, went on a date, ended up liking each other and fell in love,” she reminisced, peeking over her 27″ iMac. “But for a while, we couldn’t disclose that we were dating each other because it was unethical. And when we broke up, he wanted to reach out to me with story ideas and I didn’t want to talk to him.”
“So yeah, it does happens a lot,” she continued. “Especially in the media world. You form this powerful, unspoken partnership. But you have to watch out when it becomes awkward.”
When she’s not watching for Blue Ivy sightings or doing some serious Facebook creeping, Khalea moonlights as a print journalism major at the REAL HU, Howard University. Follow her on Twitter at @letsbeKHAlear, or feel free to Twatch. Whatever works for you.