When I started my Editorial Fellowship at The Tempest, I was excited, overwhelmed, confused, yet motivated to succeed all at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect before I had officially started, which made me slightly nervous, but I did know I was here to make a difference and push myself to write using my true voice.
I was just a rising senior at the time of the application process, and although I had plenty of experience and accomplishments in newspaper journalism, this was my first real internship with a digital media publication like The Tempest.
Not to mention, this was also my first time getting involved with a unique startup, so I was thrilled to even apply. But when I got accepted, I was shocked and at the same time beyond excited to start my journey with TT. The sole reason I applied was because I strongly resonated with the overarching goal and message of TT, so I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to showcase my work and contribute to The Tempest.
After I began publishing articles and my friends and family found it, they encouraged me to write for other publications about Muslim girls or Brown girls in general. But I tell people that I chose The Tempest for a reason; because it’s different. It’s about stories that can sometimes be outside cultural and religious norms. And it’s not just another media outlet about Muslim girls, but a powerful one that encompasses all minority millennial women.
As soon as I got started, I learned how to pitch timely story ideas, generate quality content, analyze website data, and much, much more. But this was barely anything compared to the experience and life lessons I would learn as my time here.
Because I only had experience with newspaper journalism, my first few days were challenging. I constantly felt like I was trying to report stories, when in reality I just had to delve inside myself to find my voice and write from there. Although the fellowship itself was difficult at times, it pushed me to accomplish more than I could’ve ever imagined.
I was able to build a solid portfolio of writing to help me with my future endeavors. I was able to understand how to use exclusive online tools to help me with my content. I was able to better my time management skills.
But the most valuable skill The Tempest gave me was discovering my inner voice and learning how to write with passion, strength, and power.
I learned how to write stories in which I didn’t have to limit myself or leave my voice unheard. This to me was true power. Being able to share my life experiences with such a large platform inspired me in so many ways. I wrote about issues that I wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable sharing to the world. Although I felt vulnerable writing the stories themselves, I felt empowered once they were published.
People were reading MY work. I was now a part of something bigger.
Joining this company didn’t just strengthen my voice. But it broadened my interests as I was able to write about a variety of different topics. I wrote under news, politics, science, technology, life, beauty, etc. Although I’m a huge makeup lover and beauty was easily my favorite section, I found interest in things I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Writing about Bill Cosby’s rape allegations and the debate over gun control in Oregon opened my eyes to public policy and law. My pieces on the election refined my understanding of politics. Even writing about the latest developments in technology made me wonder if I myself could pursue a career in the tech industry.
Prior to joining TT, I was a solid journalism major. But then I realized that newspaper journalism just wasn’t my thing, and I instead loved editorial writing after I fell in love with the work I was producing. Now, I’m a Politics/ Computer Science major who still hopes to be a part of TT after the fellowship is over.
The skills I’ve acquired through this fellowship will benefit me in all of my future career goals, because it has given me a basic foundation of skill sets that I will use forever.
I’ve learned how to effectively communicate with my team members and CEO, a priceless skill that will benefit me in the real world. I even learned how to coordinate/ host my own team meetings with 15 – 20 people.
One of my favorite things about becoming an editorial fellow for The Tempest was that I constantly felt like I was actually a part of the team. I felt confident that my stories were contributing to TT in a positive way, and that I was giving it my all.
Not to mention the unforgettable memories I made with my team members. Like the time my article was featured on the front page of Reddit. Or when JusReign, yes JUSREIGN, retweeted my face.
— Ruchi Rana (@RuchiRana143) May 11, 2016
After my Fall 2015 fellowship was over, I knew I was going to be back in no time. I waited to finish off my senior year of high school when I joined again for Summer 2016.
As I reentered the fellowship a few weeks ago, I was astounded by the incredible accomplishments Laila Alawa had made, and all the hard work that was put into relaunching the company. The publication was widely known, and the amount of contributors constantly working towards The Tempest is amazing.
The Tempest isn’t just a company that I write for, it’s a family that works together. I will never forget the time I spent contributing to The Tempest, and I will definitely apply again.