About the Author: Sanandan Ratkal(extreme left) from MS Ramaiah University of Applied sciences, tells the story of his internship that taught him the art of storytelling.
“To do or not to do?” is perhaps the longest dilemma of human history. I remember the time when half my vacations had passed. I was in two minds about doing an internship. I knew, no amount of research would ever create a substitute for the joy of waking up late. At the same time, the lessons taught by an internship are undeniably important. After much thinking, the sincerity in me struck a deal with my fate. Shortly after that, I applied for a content-writing internship. And that one decision changed the course of how I would spend rest of my vacation.
Internshala offered many opportunities to suit my skill set but I chose to apply to just one of them. I applied for the position of a content writer at a language learning company called English Dost. The reasons were pretty simple. The workplace was a stone’s throw from my house and, I fairly fit into the mentioned description of the ideal candidate. Furthermore, the good stipend also fuelled my motivation to apply. About 41 candidates applied for the post and I made it through. It was an internship I wanted and bagging it was an achievement of its own kind.
The screening happened on the basis of reviewing writing samples. Since I was merely a beginner, I had little clue on how to go about this. I decided to send a couple of write-ups which I had written for my college assignments. Fortunately, the destiny shined in my favour. Or probably it was beginner’s luck. I was told that my tasks would be to draft stories and corresponding learning exercises. It was going to be something different. It pleases many youngsters to experiment and I am no different. Although, I like to experiment only along very specific avenues.
My internship started two days after my employer briefed me over the phone. The timings were near perfect. I had to start working at 11am! That was good news since it meant I needn’t wake up early in the morning. I walked my way to the office. I learnt that it was the best way to avoid the delay of traffic jams, especially considering the fact that I don’t yet have a license.
My boss at English Dost was a young woman. I was to address her by her first name. It was a mild & pleasant surprise. I am about 18 years old and my opinions of offices were solely based on Bollywood and television. My boss and other people in the start-up shattered all such presumptions. They were polite and considerate, not rude and dominating like I had assumed corporate folks would be. I walked in with false notions and walked out about forty days later, with ever-lasting memories. I had a great time and my work there was entertaining at many levels.
My work at English Dost was to generate content for their learning resources. The key component of my internship was storytelling. Telling tales is an art. Though braggers fail miserably at it, storytelling can be an effective teaching device. I had always underestimated the power of storytelling until I had started working on this internship. Teaching a new tongue to anyone can be difficult. Using stories eases that by passively exposing the learner to the mechanism of the language. Though I am not a literature student, improving my storytelling skills could be of no harm. Additionally as a design student, learning the art of storytelling is a unique bonus.
The initial days were pretty tricky to me. First and foremost, I was new to the office ecosystem. I had absolutely no idea how things worked. And secondly, as a fresh writer I was clueless. Should I do it like this? The purpose of this story is that? Would this be appropriate? Is my writing very schoolboy sorts? A thousand questions ran through my mind and I had no answer. It was only gradually, with keener thought and patient guidance did I figure it out, for good. The logic was simple. People, by and large, are the same when it comes to preferences. In other words, I should write only those things that I would like to read. If I found it boring to read, then it was scrapped. I tried to do that. I suppose I did it well.
My internship also required me to do ample research about specific themes to write mini fact files. Throughout my speculative journey of content development, I read lot of new stuff. There was one downside of gaining information, though. Now, I have an uncontrollable urge to travel to Seychelles. Little did I know, Seychelles offers a tourist permit for three months to Indians, free of cost! I think I would go there someday. During my next summer break, perhaps.
I had taken my knowledge of the English language for granted. I had absolutely no idea that the word ‘landmark’ was not part of common English usage. Teaching someone a language from the grass-root level is perhaps as convenient as being a babysitter. It might sound easy but it’s the little things which are most challenging. How would I rank the words on levels? Which is harder? What would I do, if I were teaching a new language? Several questions and many dilemmas. Things got a lot clearer when I was munching on my Paneer Kebabs at a pub during a team outing. I was fortunate to work with a team such as this. I was lucky. I was overwhelmed.
Nobody is born with divine knowledge. Information is sometimes gathered. But wisdom is essentially thrust upon an individual by his own experience. My internship taught me that. And I will be carrying these lessons for the rest of my life. I would also be keeping with me the photographs of our little potluck and the design novel I was gifted on the small farewell party I had at the place. Some memorable things are physical while the rest were entirely emotional.
Editor’s Note – Do you also want an internship that teaches you as much as Sanandan’s did? Check out these content writing internships on Internshala.