My attempt at a “hello” was immediately intersected, and I bit my tongue when I realized what was happening.

“Well the Virginia Film Festival is about to get underway in November, but the application process is open now for the 12th annual Adrenaline Film Project, and Dallas Simms is an intern there with the Virginia Film Festival. And you’re working on this Adrenaline Film Project. Dallas, give us the scoop here.”

I gulped over the sound of static and nerves before responding to Les Sinclair with the local radio station, WINA. I didn’t realize I was going to be on the radio, for I had been asked if I was available for a phone interview so I assumed someone would be simply asking me questions and then pulling interesting quotes to use for a written piece. However, as soon as I picked up the phone and learned that I would be making my radio debut, I understood what the director of the Virginia Film Festival meant about the constantly evolving nature of the festival. In that moment on the airwaves, I decided not to panic but instead, calmed my nerves, reevaluated the situation, and quickly arrived at a new game plan- a major theme when planning large festivals.

This semester, I have had the opportunity to serve as an intern for the Virginia Film Festival, specifically serving as a co-coordinator for the Adrenaline Film Project. I have been tasked with the responsibility of cultivating interest in the preliminary stages of attracting applicants to a 72-hour filmmaking competition in Charlottesville, Virginia, where ten teams of three work together to produce a short film that incorporates a specific line of dialogue, prop, and genre. The selected teams will be beginning the project later this week, and I will be helping to spearhead the event to make sure it runs smoothly.

As an intern with the Virginia Film Festival, I am able to extend my learning experience beyond the classroom. I am used to writing papers about movies and social media as a media studies major, but this internship has given me the platform to take concepts and examples from class and bring them to the forefront in practice. I have channeled my social media skills to attract applicants online, and have applied theories I’ve learned in film classes to help me select applicants, and I will continue to use my knowledge of film styles when assisting teams on their 72-hour filmmaking journeys this week.

Often, students get so boggled down in their college schedules that they forget that their work in school is preparing them for the “real world.” Whenever an opportunity arises during your college career that gives you a sneak preview into this “real world,” go after it—even if it means taking a lesser course load in order to make it work. Stepping foot in the “real world” now can make your future “real world” even better.