My internship story.

I wanted to tell a little bit about the process I went through in getting my Summer internship this year.  This will be my final post for LS 534, and I think it will be a good one.

I received an email on the UA listserve for SLIS about an internship opportunity through and organization called the Washington Center in D.C.  They were looking for diversity interns, which meant that they wanted students of all different kind of backgrounds and experiences to work in fields all over the country that highlighted different types of people.  I applied, and was very excited to see an organization that seemed to speak for everything I want in a job.  I want to provide a service for all types of people!

…it also helps that the Washington Center would pay for my housing and give me a stipend on top of that.  You know.  Whatever.

Anyway, I sent in all of the information they asked for- the standard stuff. Cover letter, resume, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and all that.  The application took about 2 weeks to complete, including the wait time for the letters of rec.  Those are always so nerve wracking for me.  Professors who are kind enough to do this for their students are so amazing.

This was back in February.  I was told that I would only receive one offer for an interview at most, and that internships were VERY competitive.  It was in my best interest to take a job if I was offered one because ANOTHER ONE WOULD NOT COME ALONG.  This was made very clear to me.  I get it.  We are all in a big cesspool of unemployment just waiting to be rescued or eaten.  Get out and survive, or die trying.

As of the end of April, I hadn’t heard anything.  I figured I was not picked for an interview, and I decided to look for other summer plans.  I checked my email one afternoon and saw that I had an invitation to interview with a woman who works at the National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City, MO.  She told me she had received my resume through TWC, and she wanted to talk to me as soon as possible over the phone.  We set up an interview time for the following day.  I was ecstatic.  I couldn’t believe I was finally getting an opportunity to prove myself.

The next day, I was a nervous wreck.  What if I don’t have all of the information she wants me to have? What if I can’t remember what I did for undergrad? WHAT IF I ACCIDENTALLY SAY MY FAVORITE ACTIVITY IS CLUBBING BABY SEALS?! I couldn’t stand it. The phone rang and the conversation began.  And that’s exactly what it was. A conversation.  I didn’t feel like I was in an interview at all.  Since then, I’ve been told that the best interviews feel more like a back and forth between two people who are just trying to see if they can work well together.  So, I became more comfortable.  She told me all about her work at the NARA, and how our project would be dealing with boxes and boxes of records and photographs from the Red Rock Reservation.  Lots of organizing, lots of labeling.  But I would have a chance to see some of the oldest and rarest photos and papers from this particular area.  It sounded like a dream job.

We talked a little more, and I told her I hoped I could fill the shoes of the person she was looking for to work with her.  She said, “I’ll have my decision by the end of the day, and I have two more people to interview after you.”  Basically, if she picked me, I would hear from TWC with an offer.  If she didn’t, I would hear nothing, and it was goodbye forever.

I had a feeling that even though the decision on her end would be made, TWC would take their time in letting people know about their offers.

I was wrong.

At 9:30am the following day, I had an offer from the Washington Center saying they would love for me to move to Kansas City for 10 weeks to work FOR MONEY at the National Archives and Records Administration.  I couldn’t believe it.  I cried for half and hour and hyperventilated for much longer.  After the initial shock, I accepted the offer and began the background check process.  This was about a week ago, and I still don’t know where I am going to live or if I can bring my cat with me, but I am so thrilled.  I want to use this blog over the summer to talk about the kind of work I will be doing.  Maybe I’ll even be able to post some pictures from where I work and photographs that I’ll be digging through.  I am so fortunate for this opportunity, and you better believe I am taking it and running.  Don’t underestimate yourself, ever.   Don’t forget where your passions lie, and don’t be afraid to be honest about who you are and where you want to go.  More to come soon.

 

Keep reading, keep digging, keep fighting. Forever and always,

~Lauren Collier

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