The Editorial Residency: The Lewis Learning Curve

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Written by Lauren Lewis. Photography by Angie Lipscomb and Chelsie Walter

When Kiersten asked Lindsay and me to write reflections about our experiences as editorial residents, I didn’t what direction I wanted this piece to take. But the longer I thought it, the more I realized that I shouldn’t think about it at all. So here’s my stream of honest consciousness about the Women of Cincy residency.

I’m not always a confident person. If you know me, you’ve experienced my random ups and downs: the moments where I’ve felt I could take on the world and the times I’ve attempted to lock myself in my room and cry, which, with my three roommates, never works. This spectrum of confidence stems from many things in my life; things that I’m still working on. And I’ll admit, sometimes the confidence hits an all-time low. At these moments, the only question I can ask myself is: “What if?” What if my hair was brown? What if I stayed in interior design? What if I moved back home? What if I just hop in the car and drive until I run out of gas? I’ve become so scared of the question what if? that sometimes I don’t do anything at all. When opportunities throw themselves at my feet, I step right over them. Very rarely do I take chances that have dire consequences. To overcome this, my word of the year – for the past three years – has been “spontaneous.” 


Little did I know, in four months I’d be able to look back and know that applying for Women of Cincy would be one of the best decisions in my college career.


So when the UC English Department sent out an email advertising the Women of Cincy editorial residency, I flagged it and set it aside. As the deadline loomed closer, I’d pull the email up, look at the posting, click on Women of Cincy’s website, and then close the email again. I’d drop the idea into casual conversations with my mom, in hopes she’d give her input about the whole thing. Then I would leave their website open on my laptop, and every time I went online to Google the best study habits for finals instead of actually studying, Women of Cincy would be there with another story to share. It wasn’t until 10:30 p.m. after a final exam that I sat down and applied. It was a last minute action with two weeks of worrying behind it. Thirty minutes before the deadline, I sent in the application and then called my mom to panic about the what ifs. Above everything, I very clearly remember using a plural “women” instead of singular “woman” in one sentence and thinking: “Well, there goes the 'what if’ you were worrying about.” 

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Flash forward a month later, and I walked into Union Hall for my first day with Women of Cincy full of nerves and questions. When Lindsay, Ellen, Kiersten, Chelsie, and I sat down for our first resident pow-wow, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Little did I know, in four months I’d be able to look back and know that applying for Women of Cincy would be one of the best decisions in my college career. It’s not an easy ride, and in no way is it meant to be. But it’s one that has challenged me to reach outside of my comfort zone and instead of asking what if, ask what now?


I always knew there was an army of women behind me in case I needed it.


I’ve learned so much about various things: the ins and outs of more technology platforms than I can count, fact-checking, researching, editing, writing, and deadlines. However, I also learned about myself. It’s one thing to think that you may have the ability to do something; it’s another thing to actually do it. Surrounded by the vivacious and supportive Women of Cincy team, I knew I could tackle things more often than not. Whether it was attending events by myself, interviewing women from around the world, or standing tall in the face of predicaments, Women of Cincy helped me find courage to step out of my comfort zone; and even when I did things alone, I always knew there was an army of women behind me in case I needed it.