Three weeks ago, I started working as a photojournalism intern for the Opelika Observer. Let me tell you, working in the world of journalism is a lot different than studying it.

Getting out in the field beats sitting in a classroom; there’s no comparison.

I realized something after three weeks: I had a love for print news I never thought I’d have. From interviewing locals with incredible stories to photographing protests, it never feels like work. I love what I do.

From one passionate upcoming journalist to you, here are a few things I’ve learned being on the job.

You get thrown into stories and deadlines right away.

Literally, my first day at the office I was assigned a story. The next day, I’m interviewing the manager of a local bookstore and taking pictures. Then, fast forward a week, it’s in the paper.

I also had to photograph and interview for a store’s grand opening within that same week.

For some people this is too much, too fast. But for me, I LOVED it. Slow-paced environments kill me, and I don’t understand how some people just want to sit at a desk their entire life. I know my ADHD brain couldn’t do it.

You learn how amazing your community is.

There are stories everywhere, and some of them may have the power to change you.

For example, I helped photograph a couple who runs a tomato farm, but they don’t like tomatoes. They had a huge greenhouse filled with vines and different colored tomatoes. Have you ever seen an orange tomato? Yeah, I hadn’t either until I covered this story.

But it wasn’t just the tomatoes. This couple also had many kids both from the foster care system and their own. It was so impactful to hear their stories as well as photograph all of the love they shared. I won’t spoil too much; you’ll have to check out the upcoming Live Lee Magazine to find out.

You make a difference.

I knew I was going to be handling pieces with great impact, but it really hit me when I had to take on a protest surrounding systemic racism.

Interviewing people who have been fighting injustice for their entire lives is so interesting. These people have so many experiences and fight so passionately.

As an intern, tackling a story like this seems so surreal. While in the interviews, I thought to myself, “Wow. I’m actually doing this. I’m being a journalist.” I’m actually helping people share their passion and causes.

News is actually not as bad as I thought.

Personally, the world of news and politics has always terrified me. But this summer, I made the decision to give it a try. Can you say best decision ever?

I always saw myself either writing a book or only doing feature writing, but I’m starting to see a passion for news and reporting within me. It’s only week three; we’ll definitely see how much this love grows by the end of my internship.

I gotta say, this internship is helping me really figure out my calling. I was terrified by the idea of graduating with no idea of the direction I wanted to go.

After having some experience, I realized graduation wasn’t so scary; I’m actually looking forward to it.

So, if you see me with a big backpack and my camera around my neck, you’ll know what I’m doing. And let me tell you, I’m loving it.

About Abbey Crank

Abbey Crank is a summer intern for the Opelika Observer and is an avid-blogger and photographer.