Last spring I began my search for a summer internship. I was studying in Vienna for the semester, which meant I was unable to meet potential employers for in-person interviews. I applied to several historic preservation organizations, which is something I am interested in pursuing after I graduate, and was offered an internship with Connecticut Landmarks, an organization based in Hartford, Connecticut, that runs several historic properties around the state.
Students can receive a $3,000 stipend through the Office of Career and Professional Development at Conn for unpaid internships during the summer after junior year. To qualify for the stipend, students need to have at least 300 hours at their internship and go to a number of sessions hosted by the career office throughout their time at Conn. These sessions help make it easier to secure an internship and allow students to apply for opportunities all across the country. I received the stipend and chose to live at home for the summer to save money. Once I started my internship, I realized that it was a good fit for me. I was placed at the Palmer-Warner House in East Haddam, Connecticut, a colonial house with LGBTQ history, the last people to live there were a gay couple, which is something that I am very interested in. My main job was to read letters between the two men who lived in the house. Having taken American Studies classes at Conn where we read primary source material, I was well prepared for a job like this. While the house is colonial, most of the work I did had to do with the WWII era. The partners who inhabited the house lived there from the 1930s to 1971. Many of the letters I read while working there were written while one of the partners was away with the U.S. Merchant Marine.
Initially, I expected to get an internship that was going to be full-time so I could get the credit hours required to receive the full stipend. I also expected that I would be doing a few different jobs and be able to go to several locations to learn about how they run and operate differently from one another. However, I was not able to get a position that was full time, as a result, I got a part-time job to earn extra money. Having to balance two jobs was difficult, and I had many busy days, but the experience taught me how to budget my money and time in a non-academic setting. Through Conn, I was able to have this new experience which, while I was expecting that it would turn out differently than it did, was still valuable.