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Danielle Earls, Communication Alumna

Looking back, I can distinctly remember the first time I saw my name attributed to an article I had written during my internship with the University of Maryland-Office of Communications. Even though the article required me to trek through the mud of the campus farm and near several animals that smelled less than pleasant, I could not have been more proud. I had my own by-line and it was in print for the world to see. The same feelings of pride and accomplishment still come over me whenever I write a press release or article for my current job and I tap out my name as the author. However, for as many instances as I have included my name in the by-line, there have similarly been as many times when I had to fill in the blank with someone else’s.

As an intern, I relished the opportunity to get as much writing experience as possible and I adamantly encourage any student to do so as well. But at the same time, I struggled with understanding how, after spending the time and effort to develop a story, I would have to pass it off under someone else’s name. Even though I loved what I was doing at my internships, I was unsure about how my skills could develop into a full-time opportunity that I would look forward to everyday and find personal gratification from, without feeling short changed with the absence of a by-line.

Consequently, I had the opportunity to sit down with a career advisor to discuss my strengths, employment desires and goals. The meeting allowed me to pinpoint what I enjoyed doing, which included writing, and the types of opportunities I could pursue.The meeting also gave me perspective about ultimately achieving my goal, which I hope to offer to other students pursuing careers of all types. Even though I may not get the by-line every time, I am still gaining valuable experience that can never be taken away from me.

Thus far in my career, I have learned each experience, internship or job can prove valuable in one way or another. I have taken skills from each and continually use them to shape the future I want. Just as I have been able to recognize what it is I have a passion for from my internships and how to continue down a path to fuel that passion, I wish to pass along this valuable advice of pursuing an internship or job for the experience, even if it is not exactly what you want. I consider myself lucky to have had a career center advisor that provided me with my first sense of direction and, as a result, have now been able to combine my experience with the advice to continue striving for my goals.


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