Former WhenInManila Intern Talks About Life, Failures, and Being a #WIMtern

Words by Micah Avry Guiao
Photos by Caitlin Rodil

“I guess if you do internships thrice, you get it right this time.”

These were the words said said by Giorgia Danga, a former Writing Intern at When in Manila. She calls herself a “speech therapist and university instructor by profession and storyteller by passion.” She recently held a talk among Batch 5 WIMterns, discussing her life before and after her WIMternship, and everything else in between.

Read her viral post below wherein she talks about her journey sullied with obstacles and failures, yet nevertheless bringing her to success that has inspired many people. It shows just how much things can change over the course of a year. She wrote:

“Left photo: Taken November 2015.
Pale. Literally sleepless. Smiling but dying inside. Weak. Anxious.

Right photo: Taken May 2017.
Vibrant. Gets 8 hours of sleep. Smiling genuinely. Courageous. Happy.”

Read the entire post here.

In her talk, she gave five brief advice to take to heart along the way:

1. Listen to your body.

Her post read: “It was ironic that I have been treating patients non-stop, when I needed healing myself. My body was betraying me (or maybe I betrayed it first) to the point where I was one test away from being diagnosed with cancer.”

She came to a point where any work mentioned would render her in a spiral of anxiety attacks. Rock bottom was all she knew for a couple of months. On the brink of breaking down, she decided to have a break. She took care of her body, found a mentor, and spent all her days studying in a coffee shop. Eventually, she got back on her feet—this time better and brighter.

Essentially, don’t take your body for granted. Eat healthier, sleep more, journal small insights, practice the habit of exercise—really anything that you can do to contribute to your overall development is worth a try.

2. Show kindness to others.

Giorgia found this an absolute must. After all, you can never go wrong with kindness and empathy. Don’t criticize what you do not understand because everybody’s pain is valid. Everyone is fighting a hard fight.

3. Show kindness to yourself.

Another gold mine to take away from Giorgia would be this: “Sometimes taking a step back actually means making your biggest leap.”

All throughout high school, Giorgia was a perfectionist. An overachiever who achieved awards. A “Promil-worthy kid.” But it only took a few months into college for her to realize that, in high school, she was merely a big fish in a small pond. College, however, was a vast ocean.

This realization brought upon doubts and insecurities within herself, and harboring on this panic was what caused her to spiral down into depression and anxiety. It’s important to learn when to pause because you cannot pour from an empty cup. At the end of the day, you are your greatest investment.

As Giorgia put it, “Channel your pain into power. Cry, explode, fall down, feel sorry for yourself. It’s okay. It will be okay. Take as much time as you need. But at the end of the day, pick yourself back together, leave all the bitterness behind, and shine much brighter than ever before.”

4. Make mistakes.

Her course-required “internshit,” as she calls it, involved a series of failed clinical rotations—twice. In the course of those internships, she opted for something outside of the medical field. Going back to her love of writing, she applied to be an intern for Scout, Rappler, and Candy—all of which she passed the first screening but received no callbacks after.

Those were another few bullet points to add to her long list of failures, yet she’s learned to be grateful for it soon after. People do not learn from examples, but mistakes. You always have a chance to clean them up. Acknowledge that you are trying.

5. Have faith that everything happens for a reason.

This mentality is what saved Giorgia.

If things did not happen the way they did, she would not be speaking to an audience now.

Originally, Giorgia applied to be a WIMtern for Batch 3, but seeing as she had too much on her plate at that time, she instead waited for Batch 4 to roll in around January 2017. What she loved most about being a WIMtern, she said, was that no pressure was put on her. She genuinely enjoyed what she was doing.

WIMternship opened doors for a lot of opportunities for Giorgia—doing collaborations, making new friends, and widening connections. Going to restaurant features, covering concerts, and receiving free products were just perks.

WIMterns Batch 2 Graduation Penbrothers

Most importantly, she and her co-WIMterns watched each other grow as creatives. Even after the internship program, their group chats remained as active as ever. They went to each other’s debut celebrations, and gave each other sidelines. Former writers, photographers, graphic designers, and videographers were now in the professions they wanted.

And for Giorgia and her WIMtern batchmates, it was all thanks to the WIMternship.


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