Photo courtesy of Luke Feliciano | The views expressed in the following article are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Newswire staff as a whole.
Two weeks ago, I wrote my last recap for bisons.com. It was the conclusion of what was an unforgettable experience working for the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, as a website reporting intern.
Admittedly, I faced a daunting reality. I was embarking on a journey into uncharted territory to parts unknown. I had an understanding of what my daily tasks were going to be, but a variety of factors (chief among them the fact that I was going to be living six hours away from home by myself all summer) scared me. Despite these early qualms, I soon learned why it was the best decision I could have ever made.
Internships provide eager college students the opportunity to obtain real-world working experience while pursuing a degree. While some internships are paid, I was never financially compensated for my work. However, after composing a total of 85 articles throughout the summer, I was paid in an intangible currency: experience and newly acquired knowledge that I can now take with me for a long career as a sports journalist.
Interning for the Bisons provided me with an array of unique opportunities that I couldn’t have received elsewhere. For instance, my mostly-limitless access allowed me to get directly in touch with players for pieces I pitched. These were my favorites of the summer because they allowed me to harness my creativity.
One aspect of my internship that was rewarding and humbling was interacting with players either face-to-face or in a press conference setting. Many were on the precipice of reaching the Major Leagues, and some had already seen time with big-league clubs. Near the end of my time in Buffalo, two players I interviewed for a feature story were called up to the Blue Jays for the first time, which was gratifying to see.
One of the most enthralling experiences was when baseball’s top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., made his Triple-A debut with the Bisons. Unlike other days at the ballpark, there was a large posse of media at the game. Under special circumstances, a media press conference was held prior to the game and what is commonly referred to as a “scrum” took place.
That was a bit overwhelming for me because questions were being tossed out from every direction and I had to operate in tight quarters with other reporters and cameramen. At the same time, it gave me my first taste of what my job might look like in the future.
I firmly believe my internship let me blossom as a writer and as a professional. Now that I have officially bookended my time with the Bisons, I can say I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
Starting from the bottom is difficult. Often times it’s a steep uphill climb to reach the apex of the seemingly unconquerable mountain. You may not get paid as an intern, but any opportunity to be involved in the professional process is a step, even a leap, in the right direction.
The best pieces of advice that I can offer to prospective students on a quest to finding their first internship are to trust your skills, aim high and take an unpaid position. I guarantee with that you won’t regret it.
Luke Feliciano is a junior sport management and digital media double major. He is the Sports Editor for the Newswire from Rutherford, N.J.