by Page Forrest
Many of us were ready to get out of high school as fast as possible. College is a different story. Sewanee is such an idyllic place, and it’s hard to imagine leaving after four years. It’s also hard to think about jobs, apartments, and having to be a real adult after graduation. “Real” hereby meaning not having a meal plan, or not having to be anywhere until 10 on weekdays. Fortunately, Sewanee has many options for students looking to start their careers without leaving the campus just yet.
Norris Eppes (C’14) is the current Aiken Taylor Intern for The Sewanee Review. Andrew Philpo (C’14) works in the Tennessee Williams Center as the Design and Production Intern. I sat down with the two and had the chance to talk to them about work, Sewanee, and their future plans.
Did you start working at Sewanee immediately after you graduated? If not, what did you do in between graduation and your return to Sewanee?
Eppes: I didn’t start work at the Sewanee Review immediately after graduating—I started in early September. In between graduation and starting at the review I worked at an outdoor rock-climbing wall in Charleston. I traveled a little bit, too, and enjoyed my freedom after a busy senior year.
Philpo: I had signed my contract by the time graduation rolled around, but the start date was concurrent with the start of classes in August. I worked in Nashville for the summer doing freelance entertainment lighting.
Why did you decide to work at Sewanee, and what inspired you to take this position?
E: I was inspired to take this position and stay in Sewanee for both the opportunity to work in publishing and also to utilize what I learned with my liberal arts education at Sewanee. The Aiken Taylor internship really is a practical application of everything I learned in school here.
P: The Design and Production Internship in the Theatre Department is something that has been a goal for me since I was a freshman. The job is a way for me to give back to the department that invested so much time into developing my skills, and it’s also an excellent way to transition into post-college life.
Do you plan to stay at Sewanee long-term?
E: While I don’t plan to stay in Sewanee long-term, I know I’ll always have a home here on the mountain. Right now I’m applying to MFA programs in creative writing to hopefully start grad school next fall. After that I’d like to continue writing and see if I can make some sort of living doing what I love. If I can find some sort of job that mixes travel and writing I will be very happy. The Aiken Taylor internship is a great bridge to what I’d like to do in the future, too. It’s not like a fifth year at Sewanee—it feels very different than being a student. I might be in the same place, but life this year isn’t the same as life as a student. That’s part of what I like about the internship, though—I’m actively involved in shaping my future with what I’m doing now. Like, for example, getting to talk to the folks who write for the magazine. I had a great conversation with a contributor the other day on the phone. He was super helpful with the questions I had about grad school.
P: No, there are too many things happening out in the entertainment world that I would be afraid of missing out on, and that outside world experience is what the curriculum here spends so much time preparing us for. That said, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to be while I’m figuring out what’s next.
What exactly does your position entail?
E: As the Aiken Taylor intern I am getting to experience everything that working at a literary magazine entails. I am involved in all aspects of the submission process. I proof issues of the magazine. I help to organize events and readings. I get to communicate with contributors. I work on advertising and on our social media presence. I write news pieces—everything from headlines to new book announcements — f o r the Sewanee Review’s website. And as the Aiken Taylor Intern I work on the review’s new online essay series, “Spilt Ink.” In working on the “Spilt Ink” series I first solicit submissions; then when submissions arrive I work with the writers through the editorial process until the essay is published on our web site. I really love what I do.
P: 9-5, Monday through Friday I assist the Technical Director and other faculty with any number of facets of production work: painting, carpentry, rigging, electrical work, and designing scenery and lighting, are all things I anticipate doing in any given week. It’s a great opportunity to keep my old skills sharp and develop new ones as well.
How did you apply for your position?
E: With the exception of a proofreading test, my application was all done through TigerNet. This year’s deadline for applicants is November 24.
P: The application gets posted online sometime at the start of the new calendar year, and at that time letter of application can be submitted along with a resume to the Department Chair, Pete Smith.