Christina Noriega – A week on my ownRome Internships, Fall 2011

About a month ago, my internship supervisor first mentioned to me that she would be on vacation for the last two weeks of November.  Well, I now find myself in those final weeks of my internship, and I must say it’s going much more smoothly than I initially anticipated.  Publishing a quarterly journal is a lot of work.  I never suspected as much before, but it requires an excellent memory (to maintain a working memory of reviewers and contributors among the various submissions) as well as an organized system of record-keeping.  My supervisor exemplifies both of these things, and the thought of having to pick up the slack while she was away was intimidating to me, to say the least. My primary assignment over these next couple weeks was to maintain incoming emails (especially those regarding the three issues currently in progress), as well as recruit reviewers to comment on submissions for our 2012 no. 2 issue.  Furthermore, if I happened to have any extra time, I was supposed to modify the formatting for the 2012 no. 1 submissions to our in-house style, and edit three of the book reviews.  As my supervisor was explaining this to me two weeks previously, it did not seem at all unreasonable.  In fact, I was pretty confident in my ability to complete everything with time to spare.  The day after she left, however, I began to receive responses from the reviewers. Every single one of the reviewers responded that they would be unable to act as a referee for our current issue.  In fact, I had helped recruit referees for the previous issue, so I knew how difficult and time-consuming this process could be.  Still, I was not prepared for every response to be negative.  And so, I immediately prepared to send out a couple dozen more emails.  Though I was a bit stressed at the time, in retrospect this was quite an interesting experience as it demonstrates the unpredictability of publishing and the difficulty of putting out a journal that is peer-reviewed.  Of course, I think a large part of the reason why the journal is so well-known and respected is for the very fact that it is peer-reviewed.  Anything published in The International Spectator has been read by at least four people.  For this reason, everything published in this journal is of the utmost quality. The next day on my own, I found several positive responses waiting in the inbox.  Needless to say, this greatly lessened the amount of work for me to do the rest of the week.  After responding to all the emails as usual and contacting a couple more reviewers, I began reworking the bibliographies and footnotes of our 2012 no. 1 submissions to fit The International Spectator format.  This easily could have been a couple days’ worth of work, but much to my surprise I was able to finish all of them during that one shift.  I could not help but think back to the first time my supervisor asked me to look at the citations and footnotes; it took me at least a couple hours to finish only one.  At this point in the semester, I’m really beginning to see all that I’ve been learning over the course of this internship. Monday was my final day holding down the fort while my supervisor was away on vacation.  At this point, I had two reviewers for each article, and all the formatting done.  All that was left was the three book reviews that had to be edited (my favorite type of task).  This too was finished by the end of the shift.  Although it will be wonderful to have my supervisor back, I’m kind of happy I had this opportunity to work on my own for a couple weeks.  If nothing else, this week I proved to myself that I am capable of learning a process and then executing it independently.
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