Internships are only for people who can afford not to work in the summer.
As a senior who has had to find paid employment every summer, I will tell you that no, internships are for everyone. You can find internships that allow you to live at home and commute. Most importantly, there are incredible resources available at Middlebury to support you financially as you take on a summer internship.
I’ve worked every summer since high school on a small vegetable farm near my house. To be fair, I took an eight-week break after sophomore year to attend language school and a break last summer to hike the Long Trail with my mom. But I never really pursued summer internships, thinking that I couldn’t afford such an opportunity. I was daunted by the costs of living in New York or DC, of simultaneously earning no money while paying for rent and food in a big city.
It’s too late for me to follow my own advice – but you, you first year, sophomore or junior, can learn from my four years, from the choices I would make differently knowing what I know now.
So yes, you can do an internship. You can find amazing internships in your hometown and still live at home rent-free. And I tell you this as a student from a tiny town in rural Vermont, with an interest in international development. I know now that there are several international development consulting firms, offering summer internships, right in Burlington! Who would have thought? Even if you can’t pursue your interests in your hometown, the funding offered by EIA can offset your living and transportation costs. And if the thought of moving to New York or DC for the summer is daunting, talk to the large number of your fellow students who grew up there or have done internships there themselves.
I was lucky to have an internship when I studied abroad, at the MacArthur Foundation in Moscow. I researched and wrote policy briefs for the head of the office, along with editing some articles in English. It was an amazing opportunity to work in a Russian office, to further develop my language skills and to research Arctic policy. (It’s fascinating, I kid you not). But the most important thing I learned? I don’t want to do research and write papers for a job! As a political science major with little advice from two engineer parents, I often felt that working at a think tank or in academia was the only option for a future career. Guess what? It’s not! My internship at MacArthur was a valuable learning experience that pushed me to pursue other career paths.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a lot from a summer job – mine got me my job post-graduation! But an internship for at least one of your summers at Midd is really an amazing opportunity to explore a career area that interests you and to discover some different experiences.
To learn more about internship opportunities and the funding resources available, check out go/summerfunding. I know I would.