In early April, Logan Potter interviewed for a writing internship at PAPER magazine, a huge name publication in pop culture. A few weeks later, she got the news that she’d landed it and, while she was ecstatic, she found herself nervous—wondering if she was the right person for the job.
It all started back in her first year when she took a job at The Arbiter newspaper. Almost immediately, she understood that she wanted to pursue a career in writing and journalism in school. Then, once she had a goal in mind, she hit the ground running and hard.
“I began pretty actively searching for opportunities that would help refine my skills and build my portfolio, so I started an internship with Girls’ Life Magazine in 2018, and I’m in a senior intern role there as of now.”
She stuck with her studies of Media Arts, her internship at Girls’ Life, and after working with the paper for a couple of years, became Editor-in-Chief of The Arbiter in 2019. Essentially, this means Logan was running an entire independent newspaper as the head honcho. She served as the final editor on all articles, put together all weekly articles into a print issue, and on top of all of that (and school) she was still writing feature articles as well. Oh, and did I mention winning prestigious collegiate journalism awards from the Idaho Press Club (like 1st place in Review, 2nd place in Editorial, and 3rd place in Column) while she was at it? Yeah, that too.
When 2020 and her senior year rolled around, she was left with some opportunistic time to fill. See, her time as the editor-in-chief of The Arbiter ended in May, since the position is filled according to the academic calendar year. So, with a bit of a gap over the summer she could have taken some time off just to relax before her final semester. But being the driven, goal-getting person she is, she wanted to pursue even more opportunities in writing. She wanted to challenge herself to apply for as many internships as she could in order to gain some additional truly invaluable experience before she graduated.
“I applied for over 40 internships over the last two spring semesters, and fortunately, PAPER was willing to take a chance on me as part of their remote program for the summer.” Even when she started to feel overwhelmed, she had encouragement to keep at it. “I also wouldn’t be doing it without the major help from people like Jenn Fields in Student Media, who pushed me to keep applying for internships even when I was feeling some serious burnout.”
So, she emailed her resume, portfolio, and cover letter to the front desk of PAPER, not certain what would come of it. However, about a week later, she heard back and was offered an interview. Right after receiving that news, COVID-19 hit the U.S. and most everyone’s daily balance was thrown off. It took awhile for the stars to align, but she interviewed in April and found out a few weeks later that she got the job.
“It didn’t come without some impostor syndrome. I spent my first few weeks wondering if I really ‘belonged,’ before eventually working to make the most out of the opportunities that PAPER was giving me. And I’m so glad I did.”
Undoubtedly, this is a feeling that so many of us can relate to: the idea that even if we were chosen out of a group of qualified applicants, that somehow, maybe there was a mistake. Or perhaps, that lingering idea that at some point very soon we’re going to be “found out” and exposed as the wrong candidate for the job.
Logan’s experience just goes to show that even the most hard working, highest achieving people can still feel this way. That’s why it’s important to sit down, have a chat with yourself, and remember you are worthy of achieving greatness, even if there’s a moment of shock when it actually happens.
What started as a summer position, ended up as even more fruitful of an endeavor. PAPER made the choice to keep Logan on as a writer through the end of the year, when she graduates from Boise State.
Now that she’s had some time in the position, she feels it’s helped her to evolve and grow as a writer and an interviewer, but more than that, it’s helped her connect with others in a meaningful way during what is certainly a disconnected time for so many of us.
“I have worked with, interviewed, and written about people that I have admired for years, and there is literally no better feeling than someone you are writing about being just as excited about a story as you are. The people and the energy are my favorite parts of storytelling, and I get to work with both practically every single day. ”
A typical day in her final semester goes a little something like this: “I usually log into the group Slack a little before 8 a.m., and I begin pitching quick news stories to ensure that the website covers the major news of the day. Then, I usually have an interview or two to transcribe, so I spend a couple of hours refining transcripts before putting together stories. I sometimes have an interview scheduled myself, so I prepare questions and hop on Zoom or a phone call. Every day is different, without a doubt, so describing it cohesively feels impossible!”
In enjoying that fluid, ride by the seat of your pants, exciting kind of everyday landscape at PAPER, she’s collected some incredible memories which she’ll cherish forever.
“When MAX’s album Colour Vision dropped in September, my story for PAPER was one of Google’s Top Stories when MAX’s name and the album were searched, which was surreal. The second was the entire phone call with Dove Cameron, who I grew up watching on Disney Channel and got to speak to in a very full-circle moment while I interviewed her about her new solo venture into music. It really feels like I surpassed some huge writing and interviewing goals for myself early on, and I’m so grateful.”
She hopes that through this work, she has gained enough skill to prove herself as a tenacious writer who is versatile and willing to leave no stone unturned when it comes to a story. In a COVID world, everything, including what the workforce will look like, is up in the air right now, but she hopes for the best after getting the chance to add this opportunity to her resume.
Now she’s halfway through the semester, working two internships, handling all of her regular coursework, and inching closer to that graduation finish line just a few short weeks away. In the brief moments she has to reflect on her accomplishments and ponder the possibilities of the future, she thinks about how much she’s grown in just five months.
“I listen back to recordings from interviews sometimes just because it feels so unreal. I am so, so thankful for my editors at PAPER, because they have shaped me into a significantly better writer, interviewer, and journalist. I am so excited to see what comes next, because I have seen major growth in myself since May.”
Logan has been able to juggle classes, getting good grades, and all of her extracurriculars for her entire college career. And by actively pursuing and taking on internships, she’s learned so much more about what it means to be a professional writer. Of course, her degree will help her get a foot in the door in her career, but her internships have offered something more—a chance to explore who she wants to be as a writer, as an interviewer, and as a person.