This Is Your Brain on Magazine Internships

intern work

From a journal entry during my Fall 2012 internship at In These Times in Chicago:

The duties at the internship here at In These Times prescribe information processing beyond any speed I’ve attempted. But I’m adapting. I’m becoming a processor. Actually it feels more like my brain is becoming a processor while the lower half of me fidgets from the coffee. The input and output have become predictable, the algorithm in the middle is fairly constant. I just read twenty-four submissions to the magazine and recorded my opinion on whether they would fit in our next issue. Only four received yeses. I took breaks from slogging through the submish folder only to post a piece for the web (B—- S—-‘s piece about sports that I strongly dislike). Throughout the entire process of configuring the paragraphs and searching related articles online to plug in as hyperlinks, I was imagining a letter to the editor I would write, destroying S—-‘s argument in five moves. The thoughts that passed through my mind on this subject felt refreshing—of a very different nature than the simple-structured speed-processing required for most of the intern’s tasks. That’s why I volunteered to water the plants every Monday—a menial task for sure, but it earns me brownie points without hijacking my head. In some way, though, becoming a machine is satisfying. I support the cause of In These Times and I feel like I’m their tool, a supercomputer that accomplishes feats of information manipulation that no other machine but a human intern can pull off.

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