MEET OUR STUDENTS: Juan Siliezar – Roving Reporter – in Search of a Beard and a Career

RIC English major Juan Siliezar reflects on his internship experience at RIC's Office of Communication and Marketing.

There are two kinds of people I’ve always been jealous of – guys who can grow beards and students who’ve always known what kind of career they want. Hoping to become one of those students before I graduate from RIC in Jan. 2014, I decided to do an internship for the fall 2013 semester.

I interned at the Office of College Communications and Marketing as a writer for RIC News. I was told during my interview that my main duties would be writing news articles, taking photographs, filming videos and maintaining public relations with outside media to promote coverage of college events.

As an English major with absolutely no experience in the news industry, I remember thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” But like Tom Brady in the fourth quarter, I kept my cool and told my interviewers, and myself, that I could do it. For anyone going into media – or any profession – I think that kind of attitude is something you have to have, that, and adaptability.

Getting handed my first story assignment was a little intimidating. I didn’t know what I was doing or where to begin. Luckily the two experienced editors on staff explained to me how to gather information and how to present it.

As for the actual writing, I knew from my courses that I had some skill as a writer, so I relied on that when submitting my first piece for review. I learned quickly that in the news world perfect writing comes from perfect editing. After I handed in a draft, the editors would come and sit with me to explain their edits, which at times were numerous, but always necessary.

Going out and reporting was fun, kind of like in the movies. Interviews were a little intimidating at first but always exciting. Sitting across from someone, notepad in hand, listening to them talk about an issue or event important to them, I would soon begin to see the topic as important, too. The assignment would no longer be just something I was assigned to do, but something that I wanted other people to know about and become excited about.

The time went by fast. Seeing my news stories posted online was a great feeling, like scoring a goal or a touchdown. I was doing something I enjoyed, something I was surprisingly good at and something that I want to keep doing.

Overall my internship gave me confidence and the direction I needed. I can now say I know exactly what kind of career I want. The only downside is that I still can’t grow a beard.