Reflecting on My Time With Birthmark Doula/NOBC by Khira Hickbottom
Both my personal and professional lives have directly improved and expanded as a result of my time at Ms. magazine this summer. I now consider the five other fellows in my cohort (four of whom are from Smith College, while the other, luckily, attends Tulane) not only networking connections in the journalism world, but good friends. Via reading one another’s work and trouble-shooting various problems, we were able to grow together as journalists and, perhaps most importantly, as people. One of my primary goals entering the summer was to connect with my peers, specifically concerning socio-political activism, to observe and learn more about the ins and outs of differing approaches to youth mobilization. While we were often tasked with editing and/or writing specific stories, we were also given the freedom to craft our own pitches and shed light on issues close to our hearts. Seeing the issues my counterparts choose to write about and their myriad of perspectives helped me to question my own ethical compass and evaluate salient struggles from new viewpoints.
Aside from these invaluable connections, I was also able to develop on an individual level, specifically gaining more comfort and confidence holding my own in conversation with industry professionals. I had multiple opportunities throughout the summer to speak with various organization administrators and board members for different stories, doing my own research and developing my own interview questions ahead of time. This hands-on practice not only gave me the opportunity to try my hand at interviewing and transcription but allowed me to develop my people skills and self-confidence. The culture of support across Ms. definitely contributed to this personal growth, as I was allowed space to both succeed and fail. I have learned invaluable amounts over the course of the past two months, and look forward to continuing work with Ms. in the fall semester and well into the future.