So much has happened in just the past year! During the Spring 2015 term I was lucky enough to study abroad for the whole semester as a part of the Oxford University Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies program run by Middlebury College. I cannot hype this program enough, it was the most challenging yet rewarding semester of my life. I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity. Oxford is an amazing place, and I was able to travel a little bit in England and had a foray into Scotland when I wasn’t writing and researching my little heart out. I made some great lifelong friends and learned so much about not only medieval/Renaissance history, but about living abroad, a new culture (which is more different from America that you would think), and what it means to be a citizen of the world.
I have also been lucky as to have completed an internship at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, located in my hometown Grand Rapids, Michigan (I live in a tiny town just outside of the city, but I mostly tell everyone I’m from G-Rap, as barely anyone calls it.) I worked with First Lady Betty Ford’s personal wardrobe quite a bit, using my experience as a seamstress at the Elmhurst College Mill Theatre to identify different aspects of her clothing to record in the catalog. It is one of the best places I have ever worked at and the knowledge I gained from working there is irreplaceable.
I am beginning an internship this semester at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in downtown Chicago, only a 15-20 minute walk from Ogilvie Transportation Center. It’s actually kitty-corner from the Art Institute! I am elated to have this opportunity to learn and have experience my future field (I plan to be a special collections/rare books librarian when I “grow up”).
As this is my third internship, I will impart a little advice: Always take initiative in applying and researching what institutions offer internships. The staff at the Center For Professional Excellence in Circle Hall will be more than willing to offer invaluable advice and guidance, but it’s ultimately up to you to apply and gain the experience you need to be successful. Enthusiasm and persistence go a long way in this process. My previous internships have been highly rewarding and educational experiences, and I know will be instrumental one day when I am searching for employment. And when you are working at an internship, make conversation with your supervisor, get to know them and let your personality shine. While hard work is important, making a good impression and creating professional connections is equally, if not more, important. Especially for finding future internships and entering the professional world as a college graduate. All of my supervisors have been great people who have imparted invaluable advice that I continue to apply to my professional preparation. So while the idea of starting to wade out into the waters of the professional world might be scary, just remember that there are some skills that cannot be learned in a classroom.