12 Feb 2 Years Later: Catching up with Whitney Anagu, TIP Grad 2017
We caught up with one of our intern superstars, Whitney Anagu, to see what she’s been up to since her internship with Illumination Entertainment in the summer of 2017. Read on to learn how her experience with The Intern Project has opened doors for her and how she plans to use her voice to impact more young women in her community.
What are you up to now? What are you working on?
I’m currently in my first year of college at Cal Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, majoring in English Literature.
In terms of my career path, some things have changed, but one thing still remains: I want to use my voice, my skills, and my experiences to amplify the voices of young people of color. I previously wanted to focus on doing that through animation, but I found my calling through public speaking and writing.
For young people of color and other minority groups within the LGBTQ+, disabled, and invisible communities, there’s not a lot of main characters that represent us in the media. For young black girls especially, I want to normalize our experiences. I want to leave my mark as an author who writes positive stories where these communities of people are the main characters.
How do you think you were able to leverage your experience as a TIPster at college? How do you see it helping you at your next job?
Through The Intern Project, I gained interpersonal skills that allowed me to secure my next internship as a marketing intern. In college and in life, you’ll find that you’ll need to be able to present your optimal self and do exactly what it is that will make you shine – putting your best foot forward at all times is a necessity from the classroom to the workspace. Through the trainings I received in The Intern Project and my internship at Illumination Entertainment, I learned that articulating what you’re passionate about and what you can bring to the table effectively builds trust between you and your employers, which then allows you to really take full advantage of the internship experience.
What has adulting life been like?
It’s been an adjustment from living in LA! San Luis Obispo (SLO) is well … slow, it’s smaller than LA – it’s different but refreshing.
Being away from my comfort zone is good practice for the real world – learning and listening to other people with different backgrounds and mindsets has only made me a more well-rounded individual and able to function better with others. I’ve also joined clubs on campus, which I think is an important part of college. I find it really valuable to network outside of college and build my community because I’ve met some really incredible people who have a similar mind set to me and are goal driven. They’ve been the best support system for me here. All those networking activities we did at The Intern Project have really paid off!
Any parting words of wisdom for our incoming The Intern Project cohort?
Oh, yes, I have a few!
Stay open-minded, take on experiences even if you’re not sure it’s what you want to do. Whatever it is you do will help you!
Talk to people and have a positive attitude at all times – especially in the workplace. Talk to people not just in your internship but in the other TIP activities like the field trips and panels. Ask them for wisdom – they want to talk to you and connect with you! Talk to your peers, too. They are people like you who are working hard towards their goals. Be sure to make friends.
Stay in touch! Make sure people you meet remember you! A simple email saying, “Happy holidays!”, “How are you doing?”, or “Let’s get coffee!” is all it takes. People that remember you and have a relationship with you will be more than willing to mentor you and support your future endeavor.
You don’t have to be 100% certain about everything – life is a work in progress, and success is not a straight line: it goes up and down. If you fall, get back up. Even if you’re struggling now, know that failure is temporary. Our failure is a direction we were never meant to go anyway, so remember that when this happens, do not let it define your future and ability to succeed. You can achieve anything with the right mindset, support system, and a plan! There are people out there that believe in you – it is time to start believing in yourself. You are your biggest advocate, and life does not happen without you taking the first step. Remember patience and deliberation is key.
Be yourself. Always, always be yourself.
It’s not too late to apply to The Intern Project 2019! Find out about interning, or hosting an intern at www.theinternproject.org.