This summer working at VINA in an office sans walls was über weird. What with a handful of other people talking, typing, chewing, breathing, etc, it was sometimes hard to concentrate, but I managed. In fact, I grew to take advantage of and love the collaborative atmosphere— which, at times, could be quite productive. I felt more inclined to eavesdrop and ask questions; although, I can’t deny there were occasions on which I messaged Emma on slack instead of walking across the room to her desk, but that can be contributed to my sheer laziness if nothing else. I do still prefer to write within the confines of my covers, in a pitch-black room in the dead of night, but I learned I can function in a real working environment, too.
Although I took a lot away from this summer internship, what has stuck in my mind the most are the vinas I worked with, and their individual styles. While there is one dude (and two anatomically male dogs) in the office, I can honestly say that I worked around a majority of vinas in different capacities.
My editor, Emma Olswing, is young and relatively fresh out of college; however, she holds a pretty prominent position at an equally prominent startup, and I had the opportunity to learn from her directly. She and her cute choppy bangs successfully taught me how to write multiple pieces in one afternoon and edit about a billion society members’ posts in the time remaining. And with all that, she still finds the time to date, have a ton of friends, and go to multiple music shows a week! She is definitely living her best life.
Maggie does design-y stuff, which is in accordance with her inherent, effortless, cool-girl style. From my first day and onward, I was healthily obsessed with her style (in both her fashion choices and personality) and intent on finding her Instagram. I need to follow beautifully creative people on social media for the daily dose of inspiration they bring to my feed, or I’ll die. When cyber-stalking failed me, I found her handle in a very peculiar way: I asked her… out loud… in real English words! I was not disappointed. I will never forget the cream chunky sweater she wore over a men’s oversized light grey thermal. This outfit perfectly personified the look I am constantly striving towards, and I will forever be trying to emulate the relaxed and uncomplicated elegance that she possess.
P.S. Maggie, if you’re reading this, please don’t be creeped out.
And of course, I can’t forget the badass boss lady and founder of VINA, Olivia June Poole. Right before I started, she chopped off her bleach-blonde locks, and it makes her look strikingly similar to Scarlett Johansson (except better, believe it or not). She runs the entire company, and she still found time to squeeze in one-on-one dates with each and every intern in order to answer any questions we may have had and remind us that her knowledge and experience is totally at our disposal, now and in the future.
My writing is a lot more passionate and gregarious than the personality I present to the world. I have yet to determine whether this is due to personality disorder or just the level of comfort that writing brings me. While writing for VINA, it has been really fun to explore my own writing competency and try slightly different styles while attempting to maintain my own voice within the work. I was given the opportunity to write about relevant things and present them to vinas of all ages around the world. Instead of simply writing about my feelings and reviewing movies, like I do on my personal blog, I got the chance to write about more important things, like self-esteem and embracing aging, as well as trendier stuff like impressive celebrities and the art of being an “extra” pet parent.
Writing is totally cathartic, and I hardly ever have the time to do it. I loved that it was my actual job this summer because it reminded me that the main reason I want to be a writer is not because I’m necessarily exceptionally good at it, but because I genuinely love it. Even when I have writer’s block or lack all motivation, (usually) once I get started, I get into a groove, and I think it makes me a better/happier human.
Hopefully the experience obtained, connections made, and pieces published at VINA will help me even more whenever I am ready to jump into the real world. For now, I am going to keep living life cozied up to the bosom that is college, a safe-haven for knowledge-obsessed nerds like me.
Interspersed above are foot selfies that I took this summer walking from the office to BART. Hope you enjoyed them!
(Originally posted on the VINAZINE)