Journalism major Isa Luzarraga ’25, a School of Communication student writer last academic year, is interning this summer at The Kansas City Star through the Dow Jones News Fund’s internship program, and writing about her experience. This is the third and final in the series; read Part I and Part 2.
One song I have had on repeat recently is “Where Do We Go Now?” by singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams. Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to hear her perform the track live when she opened for Taylor Swift, but I think it’s the song’s theme that truly resonates with me.
Although a break-up song, “Where Do We Go Now?” captures the inevitability of time. As Abrams croons, “There’s nothin’ left here/All our best years are behind,” it becomes more evident to me that there is a sort of grieving process associated with any ending.
But while Abrams is singing about a failed relationship, I am talking about the satisfying end of my summer internship. Trust me, the parallels are definitely there, though my experience seems less painful than Abrams’.
After spending 10 weeks in Kansas City interning at The Kansas City Star, it is difficult to readjust to living at home and preparing for the new school year. While I am thrilled to have some free time, the end of my tenure at The Star is bittersweet. The sadness of leaving the newsroom and my coworkers behind is lessened by the realization that I made every moment of my internship count.
For 50 days, I grinded out captions, headlines, promotion plans, social media designs, and data visualizations, wanting to prove myself to my supervisor and colleagues. I went in early, stayed late, volunteered to cover events, and attended every single training I could.
There were times when I wished I could take a week off to visit my family, or wake up later so I could get a few more hours of sleep. Still, I know it was smart to adapt to the eight-hour workdays.
Aside from the bylines, guidance, and connections I am taking away from my internship, I am closing the chapter with pride, knowing that I proved to myself that I could do this. I can thrive in a newsroom and contribute to a prestigious publication. That realization means so much to me, and I know I will relive this feeling of accomplishment whenever I feel a hint of impostor syndrome sneaking in.
After finding a purpose and acclimating to the demands of my position, it became much harder for me to leave. It’s the melancholy that comes with the end of anything you found joy in. So while I am letting myself feel that ache, I am also reminding myself of the opportunities ahead.
I’ve always had a difficult time balancing my desire to look to the future with my need to stay in the present. Finally, at the end of my internship, I have struck this balance.
“Where do we go now?” is a valid question. Any ending – of a career, an education, a relationship – is bound to elicit some kind of sadness. What’s the next step? How do I move on?
For me, it helps to remember the amazing moments of the past while also looking forward to your future. So, where do I go now? Beyond my return to Emerson in September, I may not know exactly.
Wherever I go, I hope I carry my summer lessons and memories with me, as I move forward. Maybe that’s all we can guarantee. Going forward.
Isa is a sophomore journalism major minoring in media studies. She is from Omaha, Nebraska but loves coming back to the city. Outside of coursework, Isa is the Managing Editor of Your Magazine, the secretary of Emerson's chapter of NAHJ and a freelance writer for publications nationwide. She loves reading in the Common, going for long runs and sipping iced coffee.