You Got to Start Somewhere

  • May 1, 2020

By Aaron Viltres

When I transferred to Stony Brook, I came in with plenty of work experience, but I stressed and struggled over landing an internship related to my major. That quickly changed when I attended the journalism career fair in Fall 2019. This being my first career fair within the major, I didn’t know what to expect, and at times, I caught myself overthinking. This isn’t always a bad thing because it means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, which is one of the things I valued the most at the fair. Going from recruiter to recruiter, I felt myself gaining confidence and building momentum. 

Then I spoke to Vinny Messana, who is the founder and president of Axcess Baseball. 

I always envisioned working in sports journalism. I grew up playing a multitude of sports, including football, track and martial arts. Despite my mentioning to Vinny that I had little knowledge of baseball, he loved my skills with various editing/graphic design programs, and I feel my honesty gave him the confidence to offer me the internship on the spot.

Heading into the internship, I was very confident. I even volunteered to start a month early during my winter break. For most of the internship, I edited content through Premiere Pro and Photoshop, content that later would be used on the company’s social media page. What I loved about the internship is the flexibility and freedom Vinny gave when I was creating a graphic. He would send me a template of what he was looking for, but he gave me the freedom to experiment with multiple designs, which pushed me to be more creative. I was also extremely excited to conduct interviews with teams and players, but unfortunately, Covid-19 did not allow that. The amazing part about the internship, however, is that I could do everything remotely, which let me continue the internship through the days of the coronavirus lockdown.

The biggest challenge with the internship was at any moment throughout the day I might get a request to complete a graphic because the internship did not necessarily have a structured schedule. This made planning my designs and hitting deadlines more challenging, but it improved my ability to think on the fly. One thing I wished the internship had was a more collaborative environment because I feel working and bouncing ideas off other creatives creates the best work. Throughout the entirety of the internship I worked by myself, which can be challenging when you are struggling to generate new ideas.

One of the things I am grateful for is that the internship showed me the value of self-teaching. Prior to coming to Stony Brook, I had taught myself how to use Photoshop and Premiere Pro through YouTube videos. Even after accepting the internship, I had many moments where I had to teach myself something on the fly and then apply it to a design. The best advice I can give students is “to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” I did not know much about baseball coming into the internship, but I was confident in the rest of my skills and was able to adapt. 

Remember, we’ve all got to start somewhere, and I thank Vinny and Axcess Baseball for granting me that opportunity.