“We hope you enjoy the show!” The screen goes black and the crowd of 5,000 people begins to cheer so loudly I can feel the stage vibrating. As I crouch down into my starting position, I think of all of the hours of practicing and choreographing and how they’ve all come down to this one moment. I take a deep breath and rise as the music begins to play and everything after that is a blur. Within a few short hours, I’m running on stage, full speed ahead with my team, to claim our first place trophy.

As a graduating senior in college, I’ve tried many hats throughout my four years in school. By the beginning of this year, I had done everything from being the freshman representative of a culture club, to a mentor to students of color, to the marketing manager of a website, but I still felt like something was missing from my college experience. Then one random day in September of 2017, after all of the buzz of the activities fair had died down, a gut feeling encouraged me to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

Later that week, I found myself in a dance studio on campus auditioning for the African dance team, Presenting Africa to U or PATU for short. After a grueling two-hour audition, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had finally made the team after a previously failed attempt. Within a few hours, a group of girls knocked on my door to tell me that I had made the team and the rest is history.

Dancing and writing on the way toward a Brafton Internship

Dancing, like writing, has been one of my passions from a very young age. Although I went through a period of time where I was too shy to dance in front of an audience, I would always find myself making up choreography in my room when I wasn’t flooding my journals with poems and story ideas. In high school, as I began writing for my school newspaper, I also began taking dance classes and eventually performing in front of an audience for the first time.

In a lot of ways, my journeys as a writer and as a dancer have always run parallel to each other. When I wanted to do something my senior year that would push me physically and help me connect to my culture, I joined my dance team. And over winter break, when I was looking for a space where I could grow as a writer and take my first steps into the working world, I found my way to Brafton.

Growing as a Brafton Editorial Intern

As the Editorial Intern at Brafton my second semester of senior year, I’ve been able to write blog posts for some amazing clients that have challenged my own knowledge on subjects from hearing loss to health care technology. I’ve also had the opportunity to create infographic outlines, proof design elements, and meet with talented members of Brafton’s other departments.

During my time in college, I was able to build a portfolio of writing through an online magazine. However, I was often overwhelmed trying to balance writing an article every week, editing other writers’ work, in addition to the papers I had to write for class. Rather than receiving constructive feedback on my writing, I was often producing content in short periods of time and submitting them without a second glance.

At Brafton, I’ve been able to produce the same amount of work without sacrificing the quality that is so crucial to our clients. With the guidance of my editors and other co-workers, I’ve learned to navigate the land of keywords, SEO optimization, and analytics with ease and have gained skills that will take me far in my post-grad endeavors.

Although there are no crowds of cheering fans or first-place trophies in the Brafton office, being able to evolve as a writer while also growing as a dancer through the semester have made me feel like a winner in the truest form of the word.

Paula Assou is a recent graduate of Boston College and the Spring 2018 Editorial Intern at Brafton. A New York native and first-generation Togolese-American, she enjoys spending her free time writing, dancing, and singing.