Spring is around the bend, and readers of First Things have probably noticed the advertisement on the website and in the issue announcing that we are now accepting applications for the Junior Fellowship program. Lots can be said about the benefits of being a junior fellow: working closely with the editorial staff in producing the magazine, publishing one’s work on the website and journal (under the sharp and edifying auspices of the seasoned editors), working on research projects, reading perpetually, and living in America’s epicenter of metropolitan cultural life. But a previous junior fellow’s (modified) quiz usually separates the wheat from the chaff quickly enough:
1) My bookshelves are (a) collapsing under the weight of their contents; (b) a great place for my heirloom shot-glass collection; (c) where I put my xbox controllers and old games like Halo 3 and the original Modern Warfare.
2) Writing college essays made me (a) energized, even if due in part to late-night coffee; (b) regret minoring in English; (c) realize that narrowing the margins extended length, and professors rarely noticed.
3) New York City: (a) Theater, concerts, galleries, new friends and experiences, sounds good; (b) Sirens and lights and subways…maybe not; (c) Green Acres is the place for me.
4) Reading, discussing, and arguing about important ideas 40+ hours a week: (a) I do this anyway…? (2) Second only to birdwatching; (c) I left that at college, thank God!
5) The nation’s leading journal of religion, culture, and public life: (a) First Things; (b) The New Yorker; (c) Weekly World News.
In all seriousness, the junior fellowship is a remarkable opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the editorial process, hone one’s writing, and begin to understand the importance and context of religiously sincere and rigorous public discourse. Recent college graduates or those recently graduated are urged to apply; you will not get this experience elsewhere.