It’s true: Hard work builds character

By Marshall Wayne Cooper

I never knew how many different opportunities existed in the media industry.

When I first came to Stony Brook, I knew I wanted to do something in journalism or media, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. When I took my first video class, JRN 215, I knew that I wanted to do broadcast and not print. I seemed to gel with it perfectly, seeing how I had always had a talent for editing videos since eighth grade. I also taught myself how to do graphics for my videos, but I never took graphics as seriously as I did video.

Somehow, the people at Fox Business News recognized the potential in the graphics I had already created. They selected me to do an internship in graphics instead of media production even though I continued to express my interest in the latter.

At first, I was wary that I wouldn’t excel in graphics. On orientation day, my supervisor told me that the internship would be more of a job than an internship, which would be harder because I couldn’t get walked through certain things. This made me sweat a little, but I took the risk anyway. It was one of the greatest risks I ever took.

Even though I had to drop two classes to make room for extended morning trips on the Long Island Rail Road to the city twice a week—plus leave time for campus activities that included managing Black World Media, doing media relations for Stony Brook NAACP and serving on the Undergraduate Student Government elections board–I ended up learning terrific new skills. I went from amateur graphic designer to seasoned graphic artist, and now I’m even getting paid for freelance graphic designing.

I formed a strong bond with one of my supervisors, Candice. We worked together every morning making daily news graphics. Knowing my current events helped me a lot. All those news quizzes from my journalism classes meant that I had a strong grasp on the content that we were designing for.

When I first began interning, I thought that the environment would be strict and very rigorous but I was surprised when most of my co-workers, who were in their 30s, were similar to me. They listen to some of the same music, and their humor was similar to mine. I didn’t feel like an outsider like I thought I would.

During my last couple of days at Fox, I was able to sit in the control room with the producers. It was a much faster-paced environment than the graphics department, but I love the thrill of working live. After that experience, I spoke with my supervisor about whether I could get more experience with the video/tech production side. And we ran into the head of technology at Fox Business, who told me that I could come work for him after my summer internship if I did decide to come back to Fox.

Working at Fox has taught me many things, but I believe the most important was that perseverance and dedication lead to positive results. At first, I struggled with juggling classes, clubs and work, but I persevered and continued to wake up at 4 a.m., even though I only got four hours of sleep. The first month, I was depressed riding the LIRR back and forth, but soon it became therapeutic to me and made me feel like I was actually doing something purposeful.

My Fox internship has not only helped my media skills but also my character in general. I am a much stronger person than I was when I first started working there. I find myself doing things more instead of just thinking about doing them. I’ve also learned how to discipline myself to get a task done, a skill that comes in handy when juggling so many things at once.

I can now also make money on my own as a freelance graphic designer. My design for a weekly event was plastered all across student dining halls for the last month, which was an amazing accomplishment for me. This internship was not all about learning new skills but also about finding out who I truly am.