Meet Our New NaNo Intern, Helena!

We feel so lucky here at NaNo HQ to be able to work with some excellent interns! Today, meet our second super-awesome helper for the summer, Intern Helena Li:

Hello, World! Summer in the East Bay for me means it’s the summer of Oakland, farmers’ markets, the New Parkway theater, endless goings-on, coffee, sunlight, ocean, and hills. This year, summer in the East Bay also means it’s the summer of NaNoWriMo—a summer full of stories. It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend the next few months.

This will be my third summer in the East Bay, though it’ll be my first to venture out of the bubble of Berkeley University (and summer classes) into the real working world. I think about how it’ll go in hope and anticipation, though I’m also at times nervous because of my lack of experience—a catch 22 of sorts. But if I’ve learned one thing from writing, it’s that lack of a complete outline is no reason not to start writing (otherwise I’d never get any of my schoolwork done). If my lack of experience had stopped me from starting, I wouldn’t be typing away surrounded by the wonderful NaNoWriMo team right now.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that summer for students (who aren’t taking summer classes) means being jettisoned from the tight structure of school into the hazy, nostalgic space of freedom, away from deadlines and obligations. Wholly unprepared, we must relearn to function in the real world by relearning to be the author of our own stories; whether that means traveling and all the preparation that comes with it, or completing an internship and learning how to write a cover letter.

This summer I look forward to hearing your stories while learning from the NaNoWriMo team about how to carry on after school ends.


Helena studies Applied Math and Philosophy in Berkeley where she is often found hanging around the English department. Dedicated to words and observation, she spends her free time wandering the hills, browsing books and vintage stores, writing poetry, and fighting artificial busyness.