© 2017 herpersj Biddle snow

It Takes A Village: Finding My Internship

Five months ago I still had no idea what I was doing this summer. There’s often a lot of pressure on college students to “do something” with their summer and it can be tough choosing what that “something” may be — whether it’s a full-time paying job, a fellowship, an unpaid internship, traveling, or helping family out for a few months at home. Luckily, I didn’t have to navigate through the pressure by myself this year thanks to the help from some wonderful mentors at Dickinson.

The first steps I took were to go to the Dickinson College Career Center to set up an appointment. I had no idea what to expect because I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I walked into the appointment seeking skills on how to begin preliminary research for internships and received wonderful support. My career counselor gave me the tools that I needed to start narrowing down my internship focus and to begin strengthening my resume. However, I still wasn’t wedded to the idea of having a summer internship.

Biddle snow

Biddle House, home of the Dickinson Career Center, after a fresh snowfall

I explored other options with multiple deans and was encouraged to apply to a fellowship that took place in Washington, D.C.. We worked together to organize my application and I’m grateful that I had so many professors willing to write me (rather last minute) recommendations. Applying to the fellowship gave me experience asking for recommendations, asking for support from mentors, articulating my skills and achievements, and working with deadlines. Throughout the process, however, I realized that the particular fellowship was not a perfect fit for me and that my goal was to get initiated to a professional setting — I finally decided to pursue an internship.

I started up where I left off after leaving that very first meeting at the career center and looked for internships with a particular focus in history in my home area. I updated my resume and met with professors who graciously provided me with advice, knowledge of good internship sites that matched my interests, and their support. Their support throughout this process is undoubtedly what meant the most to me because it allowed me to feel confident while making independent decisions.

After sending cover letter after cover letter and getting rejected, I decided to take my mom’s advice and to reach out to my old eighth grade teacher who had taught my class using Facing History material and is currently working at Facing History. He was happy to put me into contact with the HR department at Facing History and after reviewing my cover letter and resume, I was offered an interview.

Once I had actually secured an interview and accepted into Facing History’s intern program, I looked over resources for summer interns from Dickinson’s Career Center. Ultimately, I ended up applying for the Dickinson Intern Notation Program as well as the Dickinson College Internship Grant. The former would allow me to set learning objectives for myself at my internship and to reflect on my experiences in order to better articulate my career interests. The latter gave me the opportunity to fund my commute to and from the internship. Given that I knew that I would be an unpaid intern, I had some concerns regarding how I would support myself or help support my family over the summer. However, Dickinson’s Internship Grant alleviated my financial concerns and provided me with a means to actually participate in this summer internship. The rest is history but I like to look back to the path that brought me to Facing History and to appreciate how many people and factors helped facilitate my journey along the way.

Biddle Clouds

Biddle House Under A Cloudy Sky

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