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Psychology student writes and embodies the aspirational luxury lifestyle

By Maya Brown

Sarah Atantway, a current sophomore psychology major at Stony Brook University (SBU), applied to at least 50 jobs and internships for the summer of 2019. After realizing that Resident Magazine , a magazine that features travel, dining, real estate, celebrity news, fashion, and events from around the world, was within her area, she decided to email the company. 

After taking a chance with sending an email, Atantway immediately heard back and was offered to intern there. With a strong interest in understanding the human mind, she explained that the internship was perfect for her to gain more of an understanding as to why and how people think. “I thought it was a good base to start off my road to my career, and it also allowed me the opportunity to practice my interest in writing,” Atantway said. 

She chose this specific company due to proximity. Atantway shared she would often hear about them during high school and found it easy to understand. 

Although the 19-year-old wasn’t paid, she explained that the experience was completely worth it because it was something new for her. “Being in that environment let me see how important the media industry is. It was a great opportunity to see the ins and outs of Resident Magazine,” she said. 

Some of the skills she was able to pick up included time management, how to interact with people in a professional matter and being cognizant that everyone has a job to do. Atantway emphasized the focus on deadlines she experienced. 

“I had to work with a large amount of deadlines, but I ended up really appreciating having that experience and exposure,” she said. 

Through deadlines, Atantway also learned how to better communicate with people and problem-solving skills. ‘'If you don’t get your work done, it’s not only you suffering. Everyone gets thrown into the boat with you,” she said. 

In terms of benefits of the job, she explained that she was able to make many connections through the people she met and networking. “First of all, I think it’s really good to work in places like these because you get connections. I got in really good terms with one person and they got your back for a while,” she said. Another benefit she received was walking away with bylines her to name, since she had been published. Furthermore, a strong sense of trust was developed between Atantway and managing at Resident. 

Her initial hope of the internship was to learn what working in a magazine would be like. “I know for me, I didn’t know much about it, but I learned that every little thing is accounted for. It’s insane,” she said. A project she completed that she is most proud of was Dining Out , a column where she highlighted three restaurants on a full page spread. 

In terms of what the employer is looking for, Atantway shared they often look for trustworthy people who stick to their deadlines. Additionally, they look for people with creativity and a different way of telling stories. 

Atantway has dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Her inspiration comes from Ava DuVernay, an American filmmaker and film distributor, because she believes she is “brilliant.” After she saw When They See Us , a miniseries Ava co-wrote and directed based on the wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five, she was immediately inspired. “It was so strong that I had to stop after the first episode and wait two weeks to continue watching it. I love Ava because she can really tell a story and you can tell she knows what she is doing,” she said. 

Since Atantway believes that after a while the entire writing, film and storytelling industry falls under one industry, Resident Magazine was her way of trying to put a foot in the door. “Even half a toenail will do something. Take that chance,” she said.  

As she reflected on her time at Resident, she called it inspiring, eye-opening and interesting. “A lot of times people are afraid to do things because they feel like they think they will throw out everything before, but a leap of faith is what you need to do sometimes. Taking a leap of faith is in itself an accomplishment,” she said.

Advice she has for students that are interested in taking similar career paths focuses on the theme of trying. With a large smile on her face, she said, “Everyone is going to tell you don’t bother and you’re not going to make it. But, there’s only way sure fire way to not make it, and it’s by not trying. Keep trying. That’s how people make it.”