‘Tis the Season…to apply for internships!

This was originally posted on “Around the Grove,” the student blog of the Universities at Shady Grove, on December 23, 2016.

Winter break has started for most Shady Grovers, and while you should definitely take plenty of time to relax during the next month of break, you should also consider taking time to search and apply for spring and summer internship opportunities! Many internship applications are due in February and March, so winter break is a great time to find opportunities and write application materials before the whirlwind of spring semester sets in.

The internships I’ve done have been some of the highlights of my college experience. It can get overwhelming sitting in classes learning about theories and ideas, wondering what career you want to pursue. Internships provide hands-on experience applying the things you learn in class to work being done in the real world.

Internships can be part-time (10 to 20 hours a week) or full-time (around 40 hours/week), unpaid or paid. Paid internships tend to have more competition and the application may require an essay or official transcripts. Unpaid internships can be rewarding too though and they can pay off in that you gain experience and make connections in the field you want to work in. Even if you’re strapped for time, you can consider volunteering once a week at an organization to get experience (you can still put this kind of experience on your resume!)

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One cool part of internships is creating your own work! These are from a project I did during one summer internship. I’m pretty proud of these cards – I wrote, designed, and laminated them myself!

Since I’m sure your attention span has been decimated by a semester’s worth of textbook readings (mine too), I’m going to use lots of bullet points from here on out!  Here are some questions you might have about internships and some hopefully helpful tips for finding and applying for them:

How do I find an internship?

  • Ask your professors about opportunities they may know of or places where previous students have worked.
  • Use the Career Center’s online board of local internships and jobs, the USG Career Connector.
  • Search Google, LinkedIn, Internships.com, and other job sites. A Google search should help you to find some websites specific to your work field that post internship listings.
  • Look at your university’s and other school’s departmental websites: individual majors and grad programs often have websites that list places where previous students have held internships.
  • Make a list of organizations or companies you would love to work for and check their websites. Even if a place doesn’t have a formal internship listed, consider contacting a staff member and asking if they would be willing to have you shadow, intern, or volunteer. (I did this myself twice and was surprised at how open people were to having me work! The people are typically impressed by your initiative.)

How do I make my application materials stand out?

  • Make a list of your experiences and skills – from volunteer work to student jobs to extracurricular activities to computer skills – to help you write your resume.
  • Consult our Career Services Center for help writing and editing resumes, cover letters, etc. as well as running mock interviews.
  • Talk to your professors along the process and ask for their insight or help tailoring your resume, etc. to your field of work.
  • Double check all your application materials (and emails) for typos and have someone else look over them. (I’ve found some embarrassing typos in cover letters after I submitted them.)

Best of luck to any who are on the internship hunt! Internships can be such a cool experiences and very beneficial in figuring out what career path to take. Be sure to take advantage of USG’s Career and Internship Services Center‘s incredible array of online and on-campus resources….And happy holidays to all!

Glimpses into life in the past at National Park Seminary historic district

This was originally posted on “Retrieving the Past”, the internship blog of the history department of University of Maryland Baltimore County, the third installment of a series of posts about my work with Save Our Seminary historic preservation advocacy nonprofit.

Possibly my favorite part of my collections internship with historic preservation nonprofit Save Our Seminary (SOS) was taking inventory of new acquisitions to the organization’s archives. One of SOS’s board members monitors sites like eBay for paraphernalia related to the school. I was surprised that there would be things sold online related to the school, but that speaks to the wide spread of the girls that attended the school. One yearbook I looked at listed girls from a huge variety of states, some even from overseas. It was rare for a student to actually be from the DC area. And like any college, the attendees had a lot of pride in their alma mater; National Park Seminary had an active alumni network even after the school closed in the 1940s.

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A 1920s school yearbook. The girls all sport stylish 1920s bobs and each girl
has a fun, congenial description of her personality written by the yearbook staff.
Another interesting note: The Yearbook was called “The Acorn” and you may be
able to see the squirrels drawn in on the blocks behind the women’s pictures.

Unfortunately, many of these alumna are passing away and their estates are being sold. The majority of the acquisitions I went through were from the collection of one particular woman who attended NPS in the early 1920s. Interestingly enough, my supervisor and I discovered through some archival detective work that this woman and her sister both went to National Park Seminary…and must have married two men who were brothers!

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A note from one student to another asking to meet at one of the sorority clubhouses.

It was amazing how much stuff these women kept: playbills, ticket stubs, notes from friends and faculty, postcards, letters. One thing I found particularly amusing were these short notes that I dubbed “early twentieth-century text messages.” Sometimes these were warning notes from school faculty regarding money owed or dorm rooms that needed to be cleaned. Other times they were notes from sorority sisters asking the girl to meet them at a certain place later that day. It was interesting to see how people communicated before email and text.

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A student scrapbook with playbills and other paper ephemera.

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I came across a few of these decorative name plates with colorful character. The triangle folds on the sides of the base make me wonder if they were used to assign seating at dinner events, perhaps for sorority events. See two more of these decorations below.

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I also had a chance to look at yearbooks, school catalogs sent out to advertise the college to potential students, and scrapbooks made by students of their time at the school. It was fascinating to see fashions and hairstyles change over the years but also to get a sense of what it was like to be a student at NPS. Since I scrapbooked my own college experience, it was interesting to see the change and continuity between scrapbooks (and college life) in the early twentieth century and today. In fact, I decided to use the scrapbook collection as the source base for my senior thesis. All in all, after spending so much of my internship focusing on the buildings of the school, it was enlightening to get a glimpse on the lives that were lived within those buildings.

 

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Life lived in buildings: This field hockey team took this photo in front of the stone arches above, which I passed by every day I worked at my internship. I found this photo interesting because school sports teams still take photos like this. 

Career Counseling #ForTheWin

This post was originally featured on The University at Shady Grove’s student blog “Around the Grove” on December 9, 2016. Read my other posts on “Around the Grove” here.

One absolutely incredible (and did I mention free!!!) service available to any student taking classes at the Universities at Shady Grove is career counseling, a set of two or more conferences with a professional on-campus psychologist designed to help you find options for a career path that fits your personality and priorities for your work life. Whether you’re a person who hasn’t even decided on a major or you’re a grad student not sure what direction to head in after graduation, this is a great service to take advantage of.

I had the chance to go through the career counseling process this month at USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation and learned a lot. Personally, I’ve been pursuing a career path in the museum field for the majority of my undergraduate life, but I have a wide variety of interests, which makes it hard to settle on just one career field. Lately I’ve been questioning whether I’m going down the right path, especially with graduation on the horizon!  I thought I could benefit from some extra guidance and scheduled an appointment with the CCC.

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So many options…which job do I pursue?!

First, I met with Dr. Kandell, the Counseling Center’s residential psychologist, to discuss my general thoughts about my future career: what career options I’ve considered in the past, what my career goals are now, and what some of my concerns are with the career I’ve been working towards. This first appointment can feel a little redundant, especially if you’re already given your career a lot of thought, but it’s just the beginning of the process, so don’t give up yet! You’ll learn so much along the way.

My next step was taking two online tests on my own time between appointments gauging my personality type and the kinds of work that interest me. The combined tests take a little over an hour and consist of simple multiple answer questions. Dr. Kandell discusses the results piece by piece with you during your second appointment, providing you with your own print-outs of the results for reference!

One test is the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, which you may have heard of before. Even if you’ve taken the test before, Dr. Kandell interprets the results as they relate to your career. I’m a bit of a Myers-Briggs nerd, so I already knew my personality type, but Dr. Kandell pointed out some of the implications my personality type (INFP, if you’re curious!) could have on both my career interests and my decision-making process in choosing a career.

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A snapshot of part of the print-out of my Myers-Briggs test results.

The other test is the Strong Inventory, which focuses on personality in terms of careers, determining what type of work you enjoy (research, creative thinking, helping others, hands-on work, etc.) and other elements you should look for (or avoid) in a job. Even more helpful is that it uses a survey done of successful people in a variety of careers to match your results up with careers where people with the same scores as you enjoy working (my top results: librarian and musician.)

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The first (of many!) pages of my Strong Interest Inventory test results…love how it’s color-coded!

The third step in the process is completing a Values Card Sort, an activity to help get you thinking about what you want most in a job. Of course, you can also schedule more appointments if you find you want to continue exploring the things that may come up during your sessions.

Counseling is a really enriching experience and we are so, so lucky to have such top-notch professional services available to us on campus for free! The process has helped me to learn about myself and brought to light some important things to consider not just in my search for a fitting job, but also my general well-being.

Give Thanks

This was originally posted on Around the Grovethe student blog of the Universities at Shady Grove on November 25, 2016. 

This Thanksgiving has been a real wake-up call for me personally. This is the busiest time of the year, especially for us students. It’s the end-of-the-semester crunch time: papers, tests, presentations, internship applications and spring semester registration are all in this month’s forecast. (Not to mention figuring out Black Friday shopping lists!) Oftentimes Thanksgiving break can turn into a chance to catch up on homework instead of an opportunity to reflect on life, practice gratitude, and spend time with family.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a couple of reminders of how selfish I tend to be. The arrival of Thanksgiving has made me stop and realize how much I already have to be thankful for. I’ve realized that I need to incorporate thankfulness into my life all the time, not just one week of the year, which is a great reminder as we head into a season where it’s easy to get wrapped up dwelling on what new shiny presents we want.

Lately, I’ve also been realizing how much I’ve come to take school for granted. During my first semester at USG, I started to recognize how blessed I was to have the chance to get an education. For the first three years of my college experience, I tended to take my education for granted because practically everyone took going to college for granted. We complained about classes all the time and counted down the days until the next break.

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At USG, I encountered people who were the first people in their family to go to college, who were working full-time and going to school, or who were raising a family while taking classes. These people’s incredible dedication and hard work inspired me to work harder in my classes and to be thankful for the opportunity to go to college, something many people don’t have the chance to do.

This semester, I’ve lost sight of that gratefulness in the midst of all the stress, and I’ve come to resent being “stuck” in school again. During this time of year its especially easy to complain about confusing assignments and crammed schedules, but I hope you and I both this can use this Thanksgiving as a reminder to take a step back and consider we have to be thankful for. And to put a pause on the complaining and be grateful for the opportunity to learn.

Lastly, I just want to say how much I appreciate the Universities at Shady Grove for giving even more people access to education. I appreciate the hard-working, dedicated staff and students at this institution and who work so hard to pursue knowledge and effect change in their corner of the universe. I’m personally grateful to USG for giving me access so many amazing opportunities (like being a blogger here on Around the Grove.) And I’m thankful for the wonderful staff who have reached out to help me succeed and have the best experience possible here.