Since starting my year at Ohio University, I’d kept a lookout for games journalism internships. I knew about Kotaku’s internship in 2017, and had even briefly talked with the intern online. Waypoint, GameSpot, Paste Magazine, and a few others had posted about internships in the past, but as the days drew ever closer to summer, I only saw two posts about internships from gaming sites: Polygon and Game Informer.
I knew how competitive these internships were, and didn’t for a second believe I would realistically get either one. But I figured it would be good practice for putting together a resume and writing a cover letter when the stakes were lower, so I went to our university paper’s Slack and asked for help. I was put in touch with the paper’s past editor in chief, and she pored through my cover letter and resume with a fine-toothed comb. In total, I spent hours upon hours determining how everything should be presented, what to cut, and how to phrase everything without being too wordy or sounding too full of myself.
But of course, life went on while I was working on this, and before I knew it the deadline for both internship applications was the following day. My resume and cover letter were more or less finished, but I needed to put everything together and find the writing samples I wanted to include.
At 11 p.m., as I was still working away, our dorm’s fire alarm went off. I had to stand in the rain for 15 minutes – and I forgot my shoes. By the time I got back, I was grumpy, wet and tired. The last thing I wanted to do was work for another two hours on an application for an internship I was certain I wouldn’t get.
Needless to say, I’m glad I finished that application.
I was previewing our university’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and checked my email during intermission. Mere seconds before the theater faded to black for act two, I caught one message out from the corner of my eye: Ben Reeves, senior editor at Game Informer magazine, wanted to interview me about the internship.
The acting for the play was impressive, but the hardest acting anyone was doing in that room was me trying to not lose my mind.
Just a couple days later, I sat down in a reserved study room in our hall with a black dress shirt and pants (because I was told some people are asked to stand up to prove they’re not being lazy; this did not happen), Skype loaded up and ready.
And there they were: Ben Reeves and Jeff Cork, two editors at Game Informer whose faces, voices, and words I had seen, heard, and read, talking to me. Fortunately, they were both super easy to talk to, keeping things mostly light and humorous. I quickly opened up and did my best to talk to them casually, while still slipping in interview-y stuff like experience, qualifications, what I’d be good at, etc. at a fairly consistent pace. Before I knew it, we were signing off, and that was that. I still held no delusions about landing the internship, but was so pumped about getting to talk with two industry professionals for half an hour that I almost didn’t care. If that was the end of my story, it was still a pretty cool story.
A week later, I got a call from Ben Reeves. Not having his number, I figured it was a telemarketer and declined the call. Thank god he left a voicemail. I called back as soon as I was able.
I got it.
I was happy, of course, but surprisingly not as ecstatic as I imagined I might be if this were to happen. A bit of me was numb, not fully comprehending what had just happened, what was going to happen. To be honest, I still feel a bit of that numbness when I enter their office each day. Perhaps it’s better that way.
I had talked with my parents about what I’d do if, by some wild chance, I’d gotten one of the two internships, but it was so pie-in-the-sky that we didn’t really have a clear plan in place. There was a rush of securing a place to stay and the money to pay for it, while I was also doing work for my university paper and keeping up with classes. For about three weeks, I stayed up until around 1 a.m. most nights doing work, even on Friday and the weekend, just in order to keep on top of everything.
But somehow I made my way here to Minneapolis, biking to the office for my first day. I met Blake and Emma, the other two interns, and we nervously took our first steps inside.
Starting off SixTAY Days strong with a late-night post! I hope to document my journey through Game Informer through these diary entries, which I hope you’ll find interesting. Don’t worry; not all of these will be as long or melodramatic as this first one!