Vanderbilt University Student Intern Produces Radio Show, Produces Results

The night before I left for D.C., I had a hard time sleeping. I had no idea what to expect from the weeks ahead. My summers usually consisted of babysitting and too many hiking trips, so the idea of an actual internship was a little terrifying. I was also nervous about living on my own, as I’d been pretty spoiled by my Vanderbilt housing and meal plan.

When I arrived at my apartment in Crystal City, it was pretty clear that I wasn’t in Nashville anymore. The first few days are a blur of getting in everyone’s way on the metro, a few mishaps in attempting to cook for myself, and trying without avail to define “business casual” before my first day at work.

I arrived forty-five minutes early on my first day as an intern at The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5. I sat squirming in my seat in the lobby until my supervisor arrived to show me around. I panicked when I realized I didn’t remember everyone’s names when I was asked to take notes in my first production meeting, but I felt relieved when one of my coworkers complimented my handshake. By the time I left the station, I was exhausted, but also excited by how much responsibility I’d been given. As an intern, I would be able to pitch my own ideas for shows and work on producing them from start to finish. This involved writing scripts, doing background research, and finding guests who could join Kojo on the show. In addition, I’d be helping the producers with research and editing scripts. The atmosphere at the station was creative and full of energy, which is exactly what I’d been looking for. (Needless to say, my fear of spending the summer fetching coffee was alleviated.)

I produced my first show a few weeks ago, and the number of calls and emails we received amazed me. After weeks of doing research, writing up a script for Kojo, and contacting potential guests, seeing it all come together as a cohesive segment was unreal. Walking out of the studio that day, I remember thinking that maybe the “real world” wasn’t so scary after all.

Sure, I’ve had some not so great moments as well. I’ve gone to the wrong Starbucks to meet up with an alumnus, finally arriving at the correct location twenty minutes late with blistered feet. I’ve been painfully awkward when meeting guests on the show, particularly those that left me a little starstruck (Ahem, John Waters.) And rather than sticking to the budget I carefully outlined last May, I’ve spent entirely too much money on brunch.

But at the end of the day, on my train home, I can’t help but look out at the Washington Monument and be proud that I took this risk. Cliché as it may sound, I have to say the past eight weeks have been a whirlwind. I’m definitely more confident than the girl who sat nervously in the station lobby that May morning. I’ve had to reach out of my comfort zone. I’ve volunteered to take on responsibilities that go beyond what was outlined in the intern handbook I received on my first day, and I’ve built some valuable relationships with my coworkers. I’m leaving D.C. much more sure of myself and what it is I want to do after college, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience.
— Maggie Knox, Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 intern and Vanderbilt student