Amanda Mylin on Why You Should Do an Internship

2012 Messiah College history alum Amanda Mylin has started a blog.  I love the title: “So What Are You Gonna Do With That?”  Readers of the blog can expect some thoughtful reflection from Amanda on how to make the most out of a history major.  So far she has blogged about her experience presenting her research at the student conference of the Conference on Faith and History and her internship experience at the Lancaster Historical Society.  Her post on the Conference on Faith and History has already garnered comments from history pedagogy guru Lendol Calder and religious historian John Wilsey.  I would say she is off to a good start.

Her most recent post is on why you should do an internship.  Here are Amanda’s good reasons why you should consider such an experience:

1) Not only does it provide a good line on your resume, but I imagine that it shows prospective employers and graduate schools that you are really serious and earnest about your interest in history, whatever that may be specifically. Of course I’m only on this side of the process so I can’t actually vouch for that myself, but I trust my professors to know what they’re talking about!

2) Internships allow for gaining hands-on practical skills, especially if you are thinking about public history. I learned so much in my history classes at Messiah College that is vital to the historical profession. Yet it’s only through my internship that I can learn how to navigate the PastPerfect system, understand terms like “accessioning” and “deacessioning,” and try my hand at contributing to a new museum exhibit.

3) You can figure out what you like and don’t like. I struggled (and still am) to figure out what I’m specifically interested in when it comes to public history. Museum education, objects, archives, and so much more are all  great possibilities. So by interning, I have the curator, the archivist, and many others all at my finger-tips to ask questions of and get a feel for their positions.

4) And most importantly, it’s so much fun! I started the semester by researching the story of an early 19th century Lancaster County female artist who was related to many wealthy and important men. It was hard to find anything about her, so the task required some creativity, determination, and serious deciphering of awful handwriting, but I finally came through with a few great primary sources that turned out to tell hilarious stories! The project was like detective work. I’ve had to set that aside for awhile to help put together a temporary exhibit, but I have enjoyed  every moment of my internship thus far.

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