Is Law School in Your Future?

Some resources to know about if you’re an English or Creative Writing major considering law school:

How an Internship Gets You a Job

Assortment of unusual confusing road signs over a white background.

Career-planning in the humanities is a spiral, not a line.

College students who have dreamed since childhood of a career in mechanical engineering or accounting may experience their future as an arrow that the present shoots into the future: a course in X is followed by an internship doing X at Y company, which then leads to a full-time job at Y.

It doesn’t work like that in English.

There are lots of reasons to do an internship if you’re an English major, but most of them don’t come with the expectation that the internship will relate directly to your coursework and lead to a job doing exactly that thing.

An internship with the Office of Communications for the Institute of Amphibious Basket-Weaving is NOT the path to a career in Amphibious Basket Weaving–or in Underwater Basket Weaving or in Land-Based Basket Weaving. Nor does helping to edit The Soil Science Sonnets Quarterly limit you to a career in soil science or sonnets. The key words? “Communications” and “editing.”

In your courses, you’re honing a wide range of transferable skills: you learn to wrestle with dense and complex texts, to take complicated ideas and explain them simply, to articulate and defend your own interpretations but also to listen carefully to others and incorporate their insights into your thinking, to define problems and identify the information you’ll need to solve them. to break down a daunting task into manageable steps.  These are all things you get better at by working with and creating literary texts–but employers don’t necessarily know that. They don’t care particularly in what you majored in–they just want to know what you can do.

An internship can demonstrate that you understand the range of tasks that fall under the heading “editing” and you know which one’s you’re good at.  That you understand what an Office of Communications does (and EVERY organization or business has one, though it goes by different names) and you can describe the contributions you can make to it.  That you’ve used your excellent teamwork and problem-solving skills in a professional setting and are prepared to do more of the same.

By majoring in English or Creative Writing, you have given yourself a wide-open choice of careers.  There is no line directing you to work with words in a particular way for a particular kind of business.  You have command of the verbal medium that is indispensable to every human endeavor, and it’s up to you to figure out how you want to be paid to wield your power.  An internship won’t narrow your choices, but it can help you figure out the future you want, and bring it into being.

Jobs and internships still available for Fall 2015

If you are still trying to line up opportunities for professional experience this fall, there are employers accepting applications for a range of opportunities.

Editorial Intern, Journal of English and Germanic Philology (unpaid): Get an inside view of the editorial and production process for a periodical publication by working on this prestigious academic journal, under the supervision of Professor Charles Wright.  Additional information available here.  Apply by sending email describing your interest and background, with resume attached to as soon as possible.

Publishing Intern, Common Ground Publishing (unpaid): “Our 10 hour a week, semester-long unpaid internship gives students an opportunity to learn more about the publishing world. Interns would interact with each step of the publishing process from the author’s initial submission to typesetting to publication. Our internship is education based with new lessons each week, allowing interns to apply what they’ve learned to a real world publication process.”  More information available here.

Short-Term Research Project (paid): Jacqueline Scoones of Saratoga Springs, NY, needs a long-distance assistant to “develop lists of prominent works of literary fiction, poetry, philosophy, and critical theory, and an extensive list of works in classical music, and will then develop a precise budget (with documentation) for the purchase of books and CDs (yes, CDs) based on those lists.”  Project must be completed by October 5.  More information here.

Communications Assistant, Beckman Institute (paid): duties include

  • Multimedia content creation and publishing.
  • marketing copy and messaging for communication initiatives.
  • Using existing and establish new metrics to monitor progress toward strategic goals in reputation and awareness
  • Serving as interviewer/researcher, writer and editor for print and online communications pieces.
  • Researching data, facts, histories, and stories.
  • Effectively using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to reach current and potential audiences.
  • Supporting the public relations functions of the communications office.
  • Developing or extending marketing materials (in print and digital media) for the research units in Beckman.
  • Working in collaboration with communications team to support the array of general marketing activities of the Beckman Institute, which includes but is not limited to assisting with events, web initiatives, photography, videography, and other diverse duties.

More information is available here.

Communications Intern, Indiana-Illinois Sea Grant (paid).  Search has been reopened for this position, which involves “research, outreach, and education to empower southern Lake Michigan communities to secure a healthy environment and economy.” More information available here.