When There’s a Fork in Your Career Path, Take it!

Zoe Spielvogel Press Room

By Zoe Spielvogel, BA in Journalism and Mass Communication, May 2017

For most of my life, I’ve known what career path I wanted to follow. To that end, this summer I had the opportunity to intern at PBS’ To The Contrary, an all-female news analysis show. I conducted interviews with female politicians, wrote show scripts and edited corresponding video packages, and filmed hours of B-roll footage at various events in the District. I also had the opportunity to attend an event with the POTUS and the FLOTUS on the White House South Lawn. This internship was any Journalism major’s dream. After spending nine hours a day working on these amazing projects, I would go home and watch hours of Netflix. After doing some serious soul-searching, I can now say that the latter might be more applicable to my future career plans.

Let me explain.

I enjoyed every minute of my internship. I learned so much about television production from To The Contrary’s Executive Producer Cari Stein and Host Bonnie Erbe. In fact, I’m taking a broadcast news writing class currently, and I already have most of the skills we’re learning, thanks to To The Contrary. As incredible as it was to learn about news writing and production, I found myself gravitating more towards the television production aspect of my internship than the news and politics part.

This was a huge realization. For years, I’ve told myself that I need to do something significant with my life. I’ve joked about becoming White House Press Secretary, though until this summer, it wasn’t that much of stretch from my actual aspirations. I always thought that to be successful, I had to somehow be involved in politics, to help implement actual policy change.

But this summer, I realized that’s not true. I can do something significant, even it’s not involved with politics.

How many times does television serve as a conversation starter? TV has gotten me through some of tough times, and I’m sure it has for you, too. There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day of work and bonding with your roommates, family, significant other, etc. about whether or not Lady Gaga is a good actress or who got voted off Dancing with the Stars.

Not only does television connect people, but it provides a social commentary just as much, if not more, than legislation. TV constantly breaks boundaries. It comments on same-sex marriage, racism, foreign policy, and anything and everything in between.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do with my life: produce and write television shows.  Lofty goal, yes. But not nearly as lofty as White House Press Secretary.

I wouldn’t have come to this realization if it weren’t for my amazing career opportunity this summer. I was able to improve my writing by creating show scripts, and I definitely learned a lot about what makes good and meaningful television, even if it was more-news oriented and less creative. That being said, I crave the creative.

As far as how I’m going to achieve this career goal, I’m not entirely sure of that.  But I am certain that the Center for Career Services is going to be a huge help. October was Communication and Design Career Month, and there were so many events that helped me to further explore my career aspirations. I most enjoyed the Navigating a Career in the Entertainment Industry information session on October 20, and the Media and Journalism Networking Fair on October 21.

Regardless of what my future holds, Career Services has consistently shown me that there are options, and that it’s never too late to change your mind.

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