By Tammy Chan (Queens, NY)
As young female minority, the odds of me succeeding are slim to none. The news anchors that appear every day on the morning and night news are predominately older Caucasian men. Not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m an 18-year-old Asian-American female. You don’t see any of that on TV let alone in the industry, period. However, I am confident enough to say that I’ve started my path to achieving my dreams early enough to have that safety net – to be able to make those mistakes I need to make in order to grow, to be able to trial and error my way through life’s endeavors, and for being able to test the waters before I have to stick to what I got. So I took the “warning” and ran with it. It’s a risk I was willing to take but how would I ever know if I never try.
Four years later, after proving myself worthy through gaining as much experience I could along the way, I made it to the first milestone of my life. No, it wasn’t my high school graduation, it was the idea that the Monday following my graduation, I would be an intern at the NBC New York – the top major news broadcast network. To be honest when I got the call mid-Monday morning in my guidance counselor’s office, I shed grateful tears as the HR assistant informed me that NBC had decided to hire me. Everyone in the office surrounding the phone, listening to the voice on the speaker list all the great advantages of being an Emma Bowen Foundation scholar. I was speechless, literally. I was overwhelmed with tears because this was something I worked four long years for. It was almost too good to be true.
June 9th- Intern Orientation. I remember walking into a room of around 10 interns, all significantly older than I am. When the introduction ended at a full-circle, with me being the last one, I was almost hesitant to introduce myself. It hit me right then that I’m in a room full of interns who are almost done with college and some even already in graduate school.
I felt uncomfortable to say the least. But then it hit me again. I’m here for a reason. I’m here because someone saw the potential in me.
“Hi, my name’s Tammy. I’ll be graduating from Talent Unlimited at the end of this month. I’ll be an incoming freshman at the Newhouse at Syracuse University.”
There, I said it. I felt the whole room quiet down from the murmurs that were resonated prior to me speaking. I felt underestimated, like the feeling that you get when you feels that everyone in the room completely underestimated you and judged you right at that very second.
Yes, I’m young. I’m 18-years-old and I am sitting in the room with all the other interns who just. I’m the youngest, not necessarily the least-experienced. There is a reason why I’m only 18 and sitting in this room.
Now Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, I’m doing something I’ve always dreamed of doing – walking into 30 Rockefeller Plaza and swiping my ID card to get into the turn style. I’m living my dream: I have my own desk, my own phone extension, my own computer. It’s all so surreal to me. I’ve been a part of so many sales meetings, news meetings, been on shoots for commercials and for spots. There are really no words to describe this experience, but it’s satisfying to know that no hard work will go unrecognized.
-- Chan is a rising freshman at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Communication and a 2010 alumna of the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program.