by Ellie Melero
Introductions are always awkward.
At least for me they are. I hate when teachers play icebreakers during syllabus week so people can try to get to know each other; they’re hardly ever fun and usually make me overthink everything I say.
That said, it’s so much worse when a teacher just tells you to introduce yourself to the class without any prompt because I never have any idea what to say.
But that’s what I’m here to do: introduce myself.
I’m writing this right now to say, “Hello, readers of the Leaven. I’m Ellie the intern.”
That sentence alone, of course, tells you nothing about me. But what do you want to know about me? Well, I guess I can just start with how I became the intern at an archdiocesan newspaper.
I’m from Leavenworth. In 2017, I graduated from a school some of you may have heard of: Immaculata High School, the school in Leavenworth that closed down. I was part of the last graduating class. A couple months after graduation, my 15 classmates and I went our separate ways. I ended up in good ol’ Stillwater, Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State University.
I went to school with the same people for 10 years, so moving to a different school in a different state with nobody I knew was just a wee bit stressful.
But I made my first friends during welcome week. One of them was my friend Megan.
At first, Megan was just someone I ended up sitting next to in a “How to study in college” seminar. I didn’t think I had anything in common with her; she’s a chemistry major from Oklahoma with little interest in football or basketball who doesn’t like “Doctor Who.” But we ended up having a class together: Media in a Diverse Society.
I took the class because it’s a required class for my major: multimedia journalism. She took the class because a) she needed a diversity credit and b) she had an interest in journalism.
So, my first semester I became friends with Megan during that class. In January, she asked me to go to an O’Colly (the school newspaper) meeting with her.
As previously mentioned, I’m a journalism student, so getting involved with the school paper was a logical thing for me to do. But I had never actually done anything with journalism in high school — IMAC was just too small to offer it.
So I was very nervous because I had yet to take any classes (besides Media in Diverse Society, which was basically just a history of newspapers class) for my journalism major. But I went and met the editors and got my name on the news editor’s email list.
O’Colly meetings are every Sunday. At the meetings, editors hand out stories on a first-come first-serve basis. You had to volunteer to write something if you wanted to write. For the first two or three weeks, I was too nervous to volunteer for anything. The first story I wrote, Megan volunteered me for.
Like, she physically raised my hand for me. But after that first one, I started taking stories on my own. As I took more stories, I started gaining confidence and decided I actually really liked this journalism thing.
Thank God, because I’d already declared my major.
This past year I started taking my journalism classes and wrote even more for the O’Colly. The spring semester, I was the City News Editor for the paper. In my classes and in the newsroom, I kept hearing more and more about internships, and I thought to myself, “Hey, I should try to get me one of those.”
Well, I applied for a lot of internships. I applied to the Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, the Kansas City Star, the Lawrence Journal World, the Stillwater News Press and the Norman Transcript, just to name a few. I was talking to my dad one Sunday afternoon and he said, “You should apply for The Leaven.” I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah. That exists.”
I wasn’t really sure a church paper would give me the sort of clips my journalism professor was expecting, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to apply. And so I emailed Anita McSorley, the managing editor, to see if they even offered internships.
Anita got back to me pretty quickly and told me they did. We emailed back and forth a little bit, I sent her my resume and some links to some of my O’Colly clips and we set up a day for me to come interview.
I interviewed with Anita and Todd Habiger, the production manager, over my spring break. We talked about my goals for after graduation and what I would do as an intern. Then they offered me the internship. And now I’m here.
This is my third week, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it thus far. I’ve met some pretty cool people I wouldn’t have met otherwise (looking at you, lovely Leaven staff) and I’m getting experience and producing content. Last summer, I worked at Sonic and would dread waking up to go to work every day. This summer, I might still not like waking up. But I don’t hate my job — so that’s a huge improvement.
And those clips I was worried about? I was out reporting on tornado damage my fourth day here and only missed the front page by a hair. (It’s hard to beat six ordinations!)
When I graduated from high school, I don’t think I ever could have seen myself doing something like this. But here I am.
So, to sum all of this up: Hello, readers of the Leaven. I’m Ellie the intern.