My name is Tova Tencer and I am currently a senior at the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack NJ. This is Bergen County’s magnet school, we are the proud, the few, the nerds. The school offers nine distinct programs over seven academies, ranging from culinary arts to medical, to engineering. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Performing Arts program. The school is special in many ways, one such way being the Senior Internship program. Every Wednesday of senior year, students get the opportunity to go out into the world and get a taste of a real job. Many of my theatre peers went to worth with theatre companies all throughout NYC, but I knew I needed something else, something special. I wanted to work in comedy. I’m attending Emerson College next year to work towards a BFA in Comedic Arts, so I didn’t want just a dry theatre company. I was apprehensive at first. Making phone calls, asking working professionals for a job, I felt so incompetent! But I needed an internship. In the end, my mother had to make some of the calls for me, luckily she couldn’t go on the interview with me too.
I feel I have grown a lot in my time here. The year seems to have flown by me and suddenly it is my last day here. Even though I could only work one day a week, there was always something new and interesting for me to do. The club is a hub of activity. I tackled everything from writing blog posts and email blasts, to stacking and labeling tickets (which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds). I love to write and knowing that a cute Valentine’s Day add I wrote got sent out to thousands of people is really exciting. I also had to, yes, answer phones. This is a task I think everyone my age dreads, but I’ve studied improv, so how bad could it be? It took a while to get used to, in fact, I’m still not used to it, but that isn’t important. I can do it now. I’m eighteen years old, a senior in high school and about to go to college, talking to people in person and on the phone are skills that I need in my toolbox, that I now have thanks to SUNY. I also spent time compiling, names, faces, and bios of comedians who perform here. As someone who wants to continue in this industry into adulthood, knowing the landscape and professionals is a constant and a must.
Being able to see exactly how a club like Stand Up NY is run was enlightening. Finding out not only how the comics get on stage, but how you, the audience, gets in your seats, really paints a complete picture of how businesses like this one works. You know those guys in times square who sell tickets? Now I know how important they are to the businesses they represent. I know how much organization it takes to balance the budget, the acts, ticket sales, inventory, special promotions, events, and employees all while keeping the lights on.
This internship was quite the experience and dip into the professional world, so if you are interested, here’s my advice. You need to be flexible, eager, and brave. Flexible because things change, and you need to be able to handle any task that is thrown your way. Eager because if you tackle each new assignment with enthusiasm and positivity, not only will people like you more, but you will do better. Finally, you need to be brave. No one is going to force you on a stage, but in real life, you can’t hide whenever the phone rings, or when someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to. Being brave means finding the answers so that you know. Bravery is being willing to grow.
Thank you, Stand Up NY for giving me this opportunity.