“So if the cops show up, you’re going to have to get out of here really fast.” Not what most interns expect to hear their first day on the job. As a journal- ism major, you might expect that I’d be familiar with this kind of situation. However, as I found myself wandering around McPherson Square with one of my superiors, waiting to see whether police would break up Occupy DC, I felt remarkably out of place. I say this because, no matter how many exciting assignments I get, I never quite get used to the thrill of this job.
My friends and roommates have majors in business, biology and education. They are going to be doctors, engineers and teachers. They’ll probably do great things. But none of them run a risk of being arrested at work. My job is so much more exciting.
I have been interning at Street Sense for only two weeks, and it has already exceeded my expectations. One of the reasons I love being a journalist is that I love meeting and talking to new people, hearing their stories and getting to tell their stories.
That same day that I was in McPherson Square, I was sent down to Judiciary Square to cover a Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change (SHARC) meeting, a gathering of homeless advocates at the Community for Creative Non-Violence shelter.
I am not a Washington, D.C., native. Coming into this, I was not remotely familiar with the city of Washington. I am from suburban Philadelphia, and attending the University of Maryland. Before I started my internship here, the only thing I used the Metro system for was getting to and from the Verizon Center for Wizards games.
That said, most of my anxiety over my assignment was in finding the shelter where the meeting was
being held. Once I got there, I enjoyed covering the meeting, being introduced to new people and hearing their ideas and efforts to fight for a cause. I am looking forward to following the work of SHARC and other groups working to address the challenges of homelessness here in the District.
Another reason I love journalism is that it pushes me outside my comfort zone. It forces me to do things that make me anxious or nervous, but I al- most always appreciate these things after the fact. That’s what I expect to have to deal with in the world of journalism, and that’s what I expect I’ll have to deal with as an intern here at Street Sense.
As it turned out, the police did not break up the protest on the day that I was there. Despite my lack of press credentials, I was not whisked away by a policeman on horseback, pepper- sprayed, tear-gassed or thrown in a jail cell. But I could have been.
Not many interns can say that aftertheir first day on the job.