An Internship Unlike Any Other

My summer at Outside Bozeman.

Coming from school on the East Coast with the majority of my friends interning at financial offices in New York, I knew applying to the Outside Bozeman summer internship was off the beaten path. When Mike, the editor and founder, pranked me during my phone interview and convinced me that Tuck, the managing editor, had been sent to prison, I knew this job was really far off the beaten path. Although I was nervous to leave my peers and abandon the “norm,” Outside Bozeman combined my passion for the outdoors with my love of writing, and how could I turn that down?

After accepting the internship position, I got a lot of the same feedback: “Oh, you’re working for a magazine in Montana… what do you plan to do with that?” For some reason, it seems that college students are pressured to pursue “practical” jobs, rather than ones for which they have a passion. For me, the internship was not about finding a job. It was about trying something different, living somewhere new, and doing something that I love.

paddleboarding, jefferson river, floating
Intern initiation included paddleboarding over rapids

As I stayed in touch with my East Coast friends during the summer, it became hard not to compare our experiences. Here’s a hint—I came out on the better end. My peers work from 9-5, they have strict dress codes, they sit in cubicles, and they crunch numbers in Excel spreadsheets. At Outside Bozeman, I set my own hours, my bosses wear outdoor apparel, I go on adventures outside of the office, and, most importantly for me, I get to write. Sure, East coast internships have their perks—otherwise no one would do them. Those internships are challenging, they look good on resumes, and they generally pay well. 

I didn't get paid at all, but the experience I gained is invaluable. First, there’s the fun stuff. We’re an outdoor magazine, so we enjoy “office excursions,” one of which involved floating the river, biking, drinking beers, and eating burgers. The gear-testing perks are also a great benefit of the job, but these aspects were by no means the most valuable in my work. Instead, the best part of this internship has been the experience. As an intern, I was given many responsibilities. I got to read, edit, fact-check, pitch ideas, take pictures, do research, and write. Because the magazine is small, I participated in the full process, a rare opportunity. I also received feedback, and at Outside Bozeman, they don’t sugar-coat it. Although the criticism could be harsh, my revisions have developed my writing, sharpened my language, and helped me actually learn. 

biking, multisport, three forks, jefferson
O/B crew goes on an adventure

My point isn't that this internship is for everyone. I don’t advocate that my friends should’ve applied for this job instead of their New York ones. Rather, I'm suggesting that when looking for jobs, you can’t go wrong when you follow your passions. Don’t do an internship for “how it will look on a resume” or because it will make you “the big bucks”; instead, find one that sparks your interest, challenges you to try new things, and makes you happy.

I’ve heard far too many college students tell me, “Yeah, my internship sucks now, but it will pay off in the long-run.” My internship is awesome now, and because of the skills I have developed here, I trust that I will use this knowledge, pursue this happiness, and continue to follow my passions “in the long-run.”

For more information on Outside Bozeman internships, click here